Barcelona struggle but do enough to maintain perfect LaLiga record

Barcelona extended their 100 per cent start in LaLiga as substitute Paulinho’s late strike secured a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Getafe.

Big-money signing Ousmane Dembele was forced off on his first league start for Barca with an apparent hamstring problem and the hosts took a deserved lead in the 39th minute thanks to a superb Gaku Shibasaki volley.

Barca fought back after the break with goals from two substitutes, Denis Suarez equalising in the 62nd minute and Paulinho, whose summer move to the Nou Camp from China raised plenty of eyebrows, firing in with six minutes left to open his account for the Catalan club.

Tweet of the match

Star man – Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi. Certainly not a vintage performance by his standards, but Messi was still key as Barca made it four wins out of four, providing the assist for Paulinho’s goal. He also brought a great save out of Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita with a wicked free-kick, and almost scored after Paulinho, seeing a shot deflect wide.

Mixed fortunes for summer signings

Much is expected of Dembele at Barcelona, but this full league debut certainly did not work out well for him, with an outing that had seen him make little real impact being cut short just before the half-hour mark. The 20-year-old France forward limped off after clutching the back of his leg and going to ground having stretched to keep the ball in with a back-heel by the corner flag. Fellow new recruit Paulinho then became the unlikely hero with a goal that issued a considerable statement to his doubters. The Brazil midfielder muscled past Djene impressively having received the ball from Messi and beat Guaita with a fierce shot.

Moment of the match

Shibasaki’s strike. The first goal Barca conceded in the league this season was certainly a special one, with the ball dropping to Shibasaki just outside the box from Markel Bergara’s tee-up and the Japanese midfielder making the sweetest first-time connection to send it flying past Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the corner of the net.

Player ratings

Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6, Sergi Roberto 7, Gerard Pique 6, Samuel Umtiti 6, Jordi Alba 6, Sergio Busquets 6, Ivan Rakitic 6, Andres Iniesta 5, Ousmane Dembele 5, Luis Suarez 6, Lionel Messi 7. Subs: Gerard Deulofeu (for Dembele, 26 mins) 6, Denis Suarez (for Iniesta, 46 mins) 7, Paulinho (for Rakitic, 46 mins) 7.

Who’s up next?

Celta Vigo v Getafe (LaLiga, September 21)

Barcelona v Eibar (LaLiga, September 19)

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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