Barcelona closed in on league leaders Real Madrid with an important win on Saturday afternoon as they beat Getafe 2-1 at Camp Nou.
After a quiet opening 20 minutes, Getafe thought they had taken the lead. Allan Nyom followed up the rebound from Marc-Andre ter Stegen's strong save, but VAR overturned it because of an unnecessary and excessive foul on Samuel Umtiti by Nyom.
That disallowed goal came back to bite Getafe when Barcelona broke the deadlock ten minutes later. Lionel Messi played a delightful ball through to Antoine Grizemann, who deftly slotted it home for his first league goal in six games.
Barça doubled their lead soon after with a sumptuous team goal, cutting through the Getafe defence with grace and precision. The ball was worked out wide to Junior Firpo, pulling it back for Sergi Roberto to fire into the bottom corner and give the reigning champions a comfortable lead.
Out of nothing, Getafe pulled one back with a stunning effort from Angel Rodriguez. The Spaniard positioned himself perfectly to meet Jaime Mata's cross, sweeping it home into the bottom corner to give the visitors a lifeline at Camp Nou, but Barça held on to claim the win.
Key Talking Point
Barcelona have faltered in recent weeks, and while they started on Saturday with the lion's share of possession, they didn't threaten. They were lucky not to go behind, but Getafe's disallowed goal woke them up and urged them on to go and take the lead themselves.
Once Griezmann put the Blaugrana in front, they had the confidence and belief to go forward and attack. This was complemented by a wonderful team goal finished off by Roberto, a sign of the vintage Barcelona that the football world has come to know and love.
While Getafe gave them a scare with the consolation, Barcelona did well to see out the win. They put in a typically vibrant performance that earned them three vital points in their pursuit of the title - it is just a case of whether they can maintain that momentum and gain consistency.
Starting XI: Ter Stegen (6); Roberto (7), Pique (7), Umtiti (6), Alba (N/A); De Jong (6), Sergio (6), Arthur (6); Messi (7*), Griezmann (7), Fati (6).
Substitutes: Firpo (6), Rakitic (6), Vidal (N/A).
STAR MAN - LIONEL MESSI
Though he didn't get onto the scoresheet, Lionel Messi was hugely influential in Barcelona's win. He got the assist for the first goal with a beautiful pass, and was at the heart of every attack and every move in an excellent playmaker's performance.
Starting XI: Soria (7*); Nyom (5), Djene (6), Etxeita (6), Olivera (6); Etebo (5), Arambarri (6), Maksimovic (6), Cucurella (6); Molina (7), Mata (6).
Substitutes: A.Rodriguez (7), Kenedy (6), Amath (6).
STAR MAN - DAVID SORIA
Goalkeeper David Soria kept Barcelona at bay for long spells of the game, keeping them out and Getafe in the game. He made several key saves that kept out a relentless attacking Barcelona, putting in a sound performance at Camp Nou.
Barcelona have a week off to prepare for their next match, when they welcome struggling Eibar to Camp Nou next Saturday. That is followed by a massive trip to Naples in the Champions League, as they meet Napoli on 25 February in the first leg of their round of 16 clash.
Getafe have a tasty Europa League clash next Thursday, when they host Eredivisie leaders Ajax in the round of 32. They then host fifth-place Sevilla at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on 23 February, with the two sides currently separated by just three points.