Luis Suarez and Neymar again inspired Barcelona in Lionel Messi’s absence, the pair scoring in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Getafe in La Liga.
Ahead of their trip to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Barca had claimed just one win in their previous five away games in all competitions, but Sergi Roberto supplied Suarez and Neymar as Luis Enrique’s men kept pace with Real Madrid at the top of the table, level on 24 points.
Roberto made his return from injury to replace the suspended Javier Mascherano and continued to take his opportunities in the side by playing a key role in Barca’s sumptuous build-up play for Suarez’s opener after 37 minutes.
It was the first goal Getafe had conceded at home since August before Neymar collected another delightful Roberto pass shortly before the hour to complete the scoring and wrap up the points.
Roberto has made the most of Xavi’s close-season departure and Andres Iniesta’s injury troubles to stake a claim in midfield, with the latter bolstering Barca further by making his return from injury in the final half-hour.
Barca almost led inside a minute when Munir El Haddadi’s acrobatic effort went just wide of Vicente Guaita’s left-hand post, before a slick counter saw Stefan Scepovic hit Victor Rodriguez’s cross off target.
However, the opening stages largely saw Barca struggle to break down a deep Getafe defence – Suarez failing to get a shot away having been played in by the tricky Neymar before the half-hour mark.
Suarez had penalty appeals turned away when Santiago Vergini appeared to handle, although the Uruguayan’s frustrations were shortlived as he opened the scoring soon after.
Neymar centred for Roberto and he cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Suarez to tuck past Guaita.
The visitors began the second half on the front foot and, with Getafe no longer able to simply soak up pressure, Barca saw Munir’s effort ruled out for offside, while the linesman’s flag also denied Neymar a shot on goal.
Prior to the hour, Getafe asked questions of Barca, Gerard Pique shrugging off boos from the Madrid crowd to help keep the scores level before Neymar completed a quick break to seal the points after 58 minutes.
Roberto was allowed to roam forward unchallenged, launching an inch-perfect pass for the Brazilian to fire home at the near post.
An audacious flick from Neymar almost saw Jordi Alba add a third 15 minutes from time and Suarez also prodded an effort wide as Luis Enrique’s men avoided a repeat of the away-day difficulties encountered at Sevilla and Celta Vigo in recent weeks.