La Liga Sport

Barcelona back in business: Messi and Luis Suarez strike against Gatefe

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both scored as Barcelona stayed clear at the top of La Liga. They now have 28 goals between them – more than 16 teams in the division.

Suarez’s former Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho continues to struggle for minutes one year on from his £145million move and he watched from the sidelines as the usual suspects did for Getafe.

Coutinho came on with seven minutes left but by then the job was done. Not that Getafe laid down against the leaders and they could have taken the lead after just eight minutes when Jaime Mata scored but the referee disallowed the goal for Angel’s challenge on Clemente Lenglet.

Barcelona will argue that there was contact between the Getafe forward and the defender.

Getafe will argue contact is still allowed in the penalty area. There was no foul and the goal should have stood.

Getafe paid the price for the decision when Messi scored on 20 minutes. He pursued a high ball in the penalty area in the company of two Getafe defenders.

As Djene Ortega closed in on him from one side, Leandro Cabrera from the other, and goalkeeper David Soria raced off his line, Messi sprung from the three-man Getafe scrum with the ball at his feet, his next touch took him wide but he squeezed his shot over the line from the tight angle.

After scoring the first, Messi almost made the second playing Arthur Melo down the left.

He crossed for Gerard Pique but the defender hit his shot straight at Getafe keeper David Soria.

His connection with Suarez remains telepathic and one pass from midway inside the Getafe half went through a maze of five blue-shirted defenders to send Suarez through wide right of Soria’s goal.

His shot was smothered at the keeper’s near post.

Barcelona finally doubled the lead on 40 minutes when Suarez thundered a right foot volley through a crowd of defenders and past Soria from the edge of the area after Messi’s lateral free-kick had only been half-cleared.

Getafe kept pressing and, after a Jordi Alba clearance cannoned off the post, they pulled a goal back with Mata finally getting on the scoresheet from Angel’s assist.

They started the second half strongly and Angel almost equalised after Marc Andre ter Stegen gifted Getafe possession.

The keeper made amends shortly afterwards tipping Mata’s header over.

With Getafe still in the game Ousmane Dembele was proving a precious out-ball for Barcelona.

His pace took him clear but when he played in Messi his shot was saved and he slipped as he tried to scramble to the rebound.

Getafe brought on Samuel Saiz, signed from Leeds in the window, and Barcelona brought on Coutinho whose first action was to place a corner on Lenglet’s head, only for the centre-back to glance his effort wide.

His impact had again been marginal but Barcelona remain clear at the top of La Liga and with Messi and Suarez in this form they will be hard to stop.

‘It was a difficult chance,’ said Suarez of his goal. ‘There is still half the season left but we are in a good position.’

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