Barca's title defense hit by 2-2 draw with Getafe

Barca’s title defense hit by 2-2 draw with Getafe


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona conceded a second goal to Getafe forward Angel Lafita in injury time to stumble to a 2-2 draw at home on Saturday, dealing a major blow to its hopes of defending its Spanish league title.
Related Stories •       Messi helps Barcelona end skid, beat Bilbao 2-1Associated Press •       Atletico moves toward title, Barca stages comeback Associated Press •       Atletico closes in on 1st league title in 18 yearsAssociated Press •       Former Barcelona coach Vilanova dies at 45Associated Press •       Atletico 4 wins away from Spanish title Associated Press Lionel Messi volleyed in Dani Alves’ pass to open the scoring in the 23rd minute, only for Lafita to level after a rare attack for Getafe in the 37th. Substitute Cesc Fabregas appeared to have put Barcelona back on track when he initiated a move that ended with Alexis Sanchez scoring in the 67th. But Barcelona’s brittle defense again betrayed it in the final moments when Lafita charged in to head home a cross and grab a draw that silenced the Camp Nou stands. Already out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey, Barcelona’s chances of repeating as Spanish champion are fading fast. The Catalan club was left three points behind Atletico Madrid before the leader visits Levante on Sunday.
There are two more rounds remaining after this weekend. Real Madrid currently trails Atletico by six points but has one more game to play. The match was Barcelona’s first home game since former coach Tito Vilanova’s death last week from throat cancer. He was honored with a commemorative video, an enormous banner with the message “Tito, Always Eternal,” and a minute’s silence before kickoff. Barcelona dominated the outclassed Getafe for the first 80 minutes, but their lack of scoring touch cost the hosts dearly. Lafita converted two of Getafe’s three scoring opportunities, while Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis were particularly off target for a Barcelona side that generated a plethora of empty shots. Barring slipups by both Atletico and Madrid, Barcelona won’t win a major title for the first time since the 2007-08 season before former coach Pep Guardiola took over with Vilanova as his assistant. Vilanova led the team to the league title last year in his only season as head coach. Messi caused Getafe problems both before and after his 28th league goal of the campaign when he arrived unmarked in a second wave of attackers to place Dani Alves’ low cross into the net with a left-footed volley. Barcelona pressed for a second goal but there were too many bodies packed into the area for Messi, Pedro and Andres Iniesta to break
through. Lafita capitalized on Pedro’s hesitant marking on a free kick to slot in the equalizer, and coach Gerard Martino sent on Fabregas for defender Javier Mascherano in the second half.The decision paid off with Alexis’ goal seconds later, but Barcelona was later left undermanned at the back.
Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Pinto saved Pablo Sarabia’s volley with 10 minutes to play, but he could to nothing to keep out Lafita’s header when he jumped above Adriano to turn in Jaime Gavilan’s cross.Getafe provisionally rose three points above the relegation zone. – AP via Yahoo Sports


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