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After three weeks of away trips, including visits to two different continents, Barça were back at Spotify Camp Nou for the first time in 2023 on Sunday night. And the one against Getafe might not have been their most dynamic performance, but they got the job done and will be spending another week at the top of the Liga table regardless of what Real Madrid do in Bilbao later on.
A very decent crowd of 79,814 was treated before the game to Chinese New Year celebrations, Sergio Busquets being honoured on breaking 700 appearances for the club, and the Spanish Super Cup being paraded.
Barça took the lead after 35 minutes. In one of the few errors they made in the whole game, Getafe lost the ball when bringing it into play from a goal kick. Barça punished them for it. Raphinha stole possession and Pedri was waiting in the middle to turn the ball goalwards.
But there was be disappointment for anyone who was hoping the floodgates might open against a side that has never won at this stadium and has suffered some heavy defeats here in recent years.
Instead, a well-organised Getafe side did a fine job of making sure the Catalans didn’t get everything their way.
Getafe striker Borja Mayoral had found the net after just four minutes but the goal was rightly disallowed for offside. And the same man looked certain to score when he was through on goal, but a simply brilliant block by Ter Stegen ensured the visitors would have nothing to show for a bright first 45 minutes. The German stopper has been stupendous this season, and today was no exception.
There were other narrow escapes on the second half. Despite leading, Barça were struggling to get a full grip on the game. They needed a second goal before they could feel comfortable, especially with Getafe looking so consistently dangerous on the counter-attack.
But much as they were dominating the possession, Barça were turning it into an uncharacteristically low number of real chances. Especially after Latasa had very nearly headed in a late equaliser, the final whistle was met by a huge sigh of relief. This had been a very difficult game indeed.
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