An inspired Lionel Messi responded to another penalty miss in style as Barcelona routed Getafe 6-0 at Camp Nou on Saturday to take another step towards defending their Liga title.
The Argentina international recorded three assists in a single top-flight game for the first time and got on the scoresheet twice himself as Barca – who started with Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Dani Alves on the bench, with one eye on the Champions League clash with Arsenal next week – put in a ruthless display.
Real Madrid loanee Alvaro Medran spoke before the game of the need to exploit Barcelona’s weaknesses, but Juan Rodriguez’s own goal gave Barca the lead and Getafe provided scant evidence that they believed in a comeback, even after Messi missed his fourth league spot-kick in eight attempts this season.
Munir El Haddadi, starting for Suarez, doubled the lead from Messi’s cross and the Argentine played in Neymar to score the third as Barca breezed through the visiting defence at will.
Messi produced more magic to fire in a fourth before half-time and another fine through-ball allowed Neymar to make it five, before Arda Turan’s clever finish from close range gave the home side their sixth inside the opening hour.
Luis Enrique withdrew Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu in the closing stages as his side cruised to another victory in their quest to defend the treble.
Getafe had not won at Camp Nou in La Liga in eight attempts prior to Saturday’s game, and they made the task of halting that run even more daunting with just eight minutes played when Rodriguez stabbed Jordi Alba’s low cross into the far corner of the net.
A clumsy foul on Neymar two minutes later gave Messi the chance to double their lead from the spot, but Vicente Guaita guessed right to keep his tame effort from reaching the bottom-left corner, much to Luis Enrique’s clear frustration on the sidelines.
Messi made amends when he set up Munir to score in the 19th minute, however. Iniesta’s chip over the defence was volleyed across the box by the Argentine, and Munir reacted well to steer a diving header into the net, with Guaita poorly positioned.
Guaita clawed the ball off the line after reacting superbly to keep out Munir’s effort from point-blank range, but Barca had their third a minute later. Sergi Roberto’s burst from midfield gave Messi time and space to pick out Neymar’s run, and the Brazilian rolled the ball into the far corner.
Messi added a fourth in stunning style just before the break, spinning away from Rodriguez before bending a wicked low strike out of the reach of Guaita, before another precise pass allowed Neymar to race through a static defence and slot home the fifth from 10 yards out.
Getafe coach Fran Escriba introduced attacking duo Moi Gomez and Victor Rodriguez to give his side some hope of a consolation, but Arda produced a clever overhead kick to make it 6-0 after he was left completely unmarked at the far post following a corner.
Claudio Bravo was finally called into action to save Gomez’s low shot from the edge of the box on 68 minutes, and the Villarreal loanee was inches from Getafe’s first goal in four league meetings with Barca when he fired Wanderson’s pass wide.
Neymar was denied a hat-trick late on by Guaita’s outstretched leg after Messi split the defence once again, but Barca’s attention now turns to the visit of Arsenal on Wednesday after another comprehensive win.
Key Opta stats:
– Barcelona have not lost in their last 12 league meetings at home against Getafe (W9 D3.
– Getafe changed manager the last time they went through a nine-game winless run in La Liga (January 2015): L8 D1.
– Neymar has won the most penalties in the Top Five European Leagues along with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (6).
– Neymar’s goal was his 50th in La Liga.
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