La Liga

Barcelona 0 Getafe 0: Messi, Suarez frustrated to offer Atletico title boost

Barcelona 0 Getafe 0: Messi, Suarez frustrated to offer Atletico title boost

Barcelona were held to a second consecutive draw as Getafe left Camp Nou with a hard-earned 0-0 draw.

For the first time since the April 2012 Clasico against Real Madrid, Barca failed to register a shot on target during the first half of a home game in LaLiga, although Luis Suarez did have a brilliant volley ruled out for offside.

Ernesto Valverde’s side belatedly shifted through the gears after half-time but it was not enough to breach some stubborn resistance from Pepe Bordalas’ visitors.

It means Atletico Madrid, who picked up a third consecutive victory at Malaga on Saturday, have trimmed Barcelona’s advantage at the summit to seven points.

If Diego Simeone’s men can make further inroads before the teams meet at Camp Nou on March 4, LaLiga might just have a title race as opposed to a procession this season.

Yerry Mina was handed a full debut at the heart of a makeshift Barcelona defence, with full-back Lucas Digne partnering the Colombia international at centre-half.

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It was a factor in a stuttering start from LaLiga’s leaders, although Mina’s playmaking capabilities from deep appeared attuned to Barca’s famed style.

Damian Suarez made a perfectly judged challenge to deny Lionel Messi when Ivan Rakitic’s chipped pass found Barcelona’s talisman in the 32nd minute.

Getafe continued to threaten when they could at the other end and Angel Rodriguez latched on to a clever ball behind Rakitic from Francisco Portillo, twisted into space past Mina and had a strike deflected narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

Luis Suarez had twice been frustrated by the linesman’s flag by the time a correct offside call meant his fabulous 44th-minute volley on the end of Messi’s floated free-kick was chalked off, leaving the Uruguay star furious.

Philippe Coutinho finally managed to give Vicente Guaita some work in the 50th minute, although his well-struck, curling effort was too close to the Getafe goalkeeper.

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The flag stayed down in the 56th minute but there was further anguish for Luis Suarez on the end of Paco Alcacer’s clever flick when he slammed wide.

Guaita thrust out a left hand to keep out a more testing Coutinho attempt but Getafe’s response to Barcelona’s most enterprising spell of the match was impressive.

Gaku Shibasaki might have caught out Marc-Andre ter Stegen but lifted his shot off target when a counter-attack found the Barca goalkeeper in no-man’s land, while Vitorino Antunes flashed an ambitious volley over from a 62nd-minute corner.

Valverde responded by sending on Andres Iniesta and Ousmane Dembele in place of Coutinho and Alcacer.

Messi won a free-kick and sent the shot spiralling over – the fear for Getafe was that Bruno Gonzalez catching him in the face with a stray boot while he was on the floor might have made the great man angry.

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But Guaita was able to stand up to a pair of testing Messi strikes and produce an acrobatic stoppage-time save to keep out a Luis Suarez header as Getafe held on for a deserved point.

Key Opta Stats:

– Sergio Busquets reached 300 LaLiga appearances in this match.
– Meanwhile, it was Messi’s 300th game played at Camp Nou in all competitions for Barcelona.
– Yerry Mina was the first Colombian to play a LaLiga game for Barcelona.
– Busquets equalled Pep Guardiola as the player with the most bookings in LaLiga with Barca (80).
– Barcelona had not been shut out at Camp Nou in all competitions since April 2017 in the Champions League against Juventus.

– Barca have gone 30 LaLiga games without a defeat (W25 D5), one behind their longest unbeaten run in the competition, achieved under Pep Guardiola in April 2011 (31).

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