Friday, August 23, 2019 | ePaper

Barcelona bounce back from Champions League nightmare with win over Getafe

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal, during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Getafe at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.



Barcelona's Champions League recovery has begun and Getafe's hopes of qualifying for the tournament could be over after they were beaten 2-0 at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Arturo Vidal's finish and a Djene Dakonam own-goal saw Barca bounce back from their capitulation against Liverpool, even if their fans had not forgotten judging by the swathes of empty seats and scattering of whistles before kick-off.
"It has been a difficult game for all of us," said Sergio Busquets. "We are trying to heal a wound that isn't small."
Getafe might have hoped for their opponents to suffer a longer European hangover but instead they drop out of the top four, with one match left to play, after Valencia eased to a 3-1 victory over Alaves.
"We lost but I'm proud," said Getafe coach Jose Bordalas. "We have to win our last game and then we'll see."
Valencia now sit fourth, level on points with Getafe, but in front due to their superior head-to-head. They finish the season away at struggling Real Valladolid while Getafe are at home to Villarreal.
Barcelona's victory means they stretch their lead at the top of the table to 11 points over Atletico Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Sevilla, and 18 ahead of Real, who lost 3-1 to Real Sociedad after Jesus Vallejo was sent off.
If they beat Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey on May 25, Barca will claim a second domestic double in as many years but even that will not make amends for the collapse at Anfield.
Ernesto Valverde insisted on Saturday he wants to continue as coach and a smooth end to the season, including winning the cup, might reduce the appetite for change. "It is the first step," Valverde said.
They will be without the injured Luis Suarez for the final in Seville and the sight of Philippe Coutinho hobbling off against Getafe, clutching his hamstring, will be a concern.
The whistles before kick-off had not been unanimous, with some also chanting "Barca until the end", but the empty seats at Camp Nou perhaps sent the loudest message.
Jorge Molina thought he had put Getafe ahead in the first half but was ruled offside by VAR and then hit the post in the 88th minute with a header from close range.
In between, Vidal gave Barcelona the lead, turning in the rebound after Gerard Pique's header was pushed out by David Soria.
Molina might have equalised but instead Lionel Messi forced a late second after a one-two with Sergi Roberto was poked in by Getafe's Djene.
Real Madrid's revival from their own Champions League exit is yet to materialise as Zinedine Zidane's side slipped to their second defeat in three games.

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