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PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

FC Barcelona have passed Tuesday night’s test with flying colours. They defeated Getafe playing exquisite football and are now just one point behind leaders Real Madrid, who have a high pressure derby at the Vicente Calderón against Atlético Madrid to deal with on Wednesday night. Guardiola’s side played a perfect game from start to finish, with Alexis and Messi getting a goal each in the first half and the Chilean heading home a second after the break, and Pedro getting his second goal in two games, also from a header, to make it 4-0.

That makes for ten wins in a row for Barça, who now turn their minds to Saturday’s game against this season’s surprise package Levante, although before that, they will have a keen eye on events at the Madrid derby on Wednesday night.

Alexis opens the scoring

Guardiola knew how important this game was, and decided not to rest any of his biggest names, while also opting for the ambitious tactic of fielding just three defenders and choosing as many as six attack-minded players in Xavi, Iniesta, Cuenca, Pedro, Alexis and Messi. The game started out as a battle to win the midfield, where Luis García also deployed the strongest forces he has in the hope of containing the Catalans as much as possible.

But his plans were in vain, with Barça absolutely dominating the possession from the outset, and it didn’t take the home side long to break the deadlock through Alexis, who lost his marker with blistering skill before shooting home from the edge of the area. The Camp Nou faithful, who remembered Abidal’s name in the 22nd minute of both halves, celebrated the goal in style.

Iniesta and Messi form lethal connection

Getafe only managed to break into the Barça half with any serious intent on three consecutive occasions just after the half hour. With Miku as their only out and out forward, the rest of the team did all they could to contain Barça’s suffocating possession football, and which led to crosses time and again from Pedro and Cuenca, on the left and right respectively, while Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis and Messi masterfully marshalled the midfield. All those players had chances to get Barcelona’s second, but eventually it was the Argentinian who found the net following a magnificent one-two with Iniesta. Barça went in at the break 2-0 up, and looked in total command of the game.

Third and fourth from headers

After the restart, the Camp Nou suffered a torrential downpour, which had much to do with the drop in intensity until the final quarter of an hour when FC Barcelona put their feet back on the gas to ensure three valuable points. And they got them in uncharacteristic fashion, both coming from headers. The first was converted by Alexis with a powerful dive to complete a majestic move started by a pinpoint cross from Cuenca on the right. The second was the work of Pedro, who headed home a Messi free kick with his back to the goal. The two strikes brought an end to the storm, and sparked off yet another night of celebrations in the Catalan capital.


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