Messi leads Barcelona to 1-0 win over Getafe

Apr 19, 2009, 13:26 IST | AFP

Lionel Messi's 20th goal of a spectacular season helped Barcelona defeat Getafe 1-0 on Saturday as they stretched their lead over champions Real Madrid to nine points.

Lionel Messi's 20th goal of a spectacular season helped Barcelona defeat Getafe 1-0 on Saturday as they stretched their lead over champions Real Madrid to nine points.

Argentine Messi netted on 19 minutes to seal Barca's first win at bogey side Getafe since 2005 and the victory means Pep Guardiola's side have now defeated every team in the top-flight this season.

"It is another important win and each one gives us more confidence," said Guardiola. "We have to pick up some silverware this season and we are working on that.

"The players know what they want to achieve and the way they are approaching things shows they want to win trophies."

Real are at Recreativo Huelva later on Saturday looking to cut the distance at the top back to six points.

Barca had lost their last two visits to the Coliseum, including a painful 4-0 thrashing in the 2007 Kings Cup semi-final, but Messi's goal, coupled with a sixth consecutive clean sheet in the league brought that sequence to an end.

Barca face Sevilla at home on Wednesday as the games come thick and fast while Getafe, just four points above the relegation zone, face derby rivals Real on the same day.

Guardiola had rested some of his stars but fielded a full strength team at Getafe and it was a historic day for goalkeeper Victor Valdes, 27, who notched up his 300th appearance for the club.

"I felt the team looked fresh so I decided not to make any changes," said Guardiola. "We came here on the back of a tough game in Munich and put in a great first half display."

After just five minutes Thierry Henry should have put Barca in front but Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic produced a brilliant save to deny him.

Barca were on top from the get-go and the goal arrived in the 19th minute with Messi showing great control to gather a Xavi pass and then kept his cool in the area jinking around two defenders before firing home.

Getafe know all about Messi as they were on the receiving end of his wonder goal in the Kings Cup semi-final when he dribbled from the half way line, dancing around four defenders before rounding the goalkeeper to cap a brilliant solo goal.

Barca should have extended their lead with Samuel Eto'o heading just wide before Gerard Pique saw his acrobatic effort saved by the busy Stojkovic.

The big Serb, on loan from Sporting Lisbon, then palmed away a curling effort from Messi.

Getafe almost equalised early in the second half with Mexican Rafael Marquez getting just enough on a defensive header to avert the danger.

Messi had a goal chalked off for offside and Eto'o thumped the post but the misses didn't prove costly as Barca capped a fine week in which they also reached the Champions League semi-finals.

Elsewhere Atletico Madrid climbed above Valencia into fourth with Argentine Ever Banega, who is actually on loan from Valencia, on target in a 3-0 win over lowly Numancia.

Valencia, level on points with Atletico, host third-placed Sevilla on Sunday in the standout fixture of the weekend.

Villarreal, a point behind both sides, travel to Valladolid on Sunday aiming to get back to winning ways after losing three out of their last four league matches and exiting the Champions League to Arsenal in midweek.

In other matches, Malaga drew 1-1 with Real Mallorca on Saturday to fall two points behind Atletico while Deportivo La Coruna kept up their slim Champions League hopes with a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao and lie three points off fourth spot.

 

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