Barcelona kept within touching distance of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid as Lionel Messi inspired Ronald Koeman's team to a 5-2 victory over Getafe.
As Atleti were beating Huesca to move three points clear at the top of LaLiga, Barca released a statement prior to their own contest at Camp Nou, reiterating a commitment to the seemingly failed European Super League project.
While that topic seems set to rumble on, Messi served up a reminder of just what the game is at its very best with another sublime showing, scoring twice in an action-packed first half which also saw Sofian Chakla and Clement Lenglet turn into their own nets.
Enes Unal's penalty after a VAR review gave Getafe hope, but Ronald Araujo headed in from Messi's superb corner before Antoine Griezmann converted from the spot in stoppage time.
A magnificent Messi strike seemed set to put Barca ahead within three minutes, yet Getafe survived – the ball bouncing down and away off the underside of the crossbar.
Messi would not be denied again five minutes later, as he beat Getafe's offside trap and finished over David Soria.
But with Oscar Mingueza off the field receiving treatment for a knee injury, Barca were swiftly pegged back when Angel Rodriguez's wayward shot diverted in off Lenglet.
It was a huge stroke of misfortune that saw Getafe concede for a second time.
Soria rushed out to get onto a loose ball, only for Chakla to instead play a blind pass beyond his goalkeeper, whose despairing dive into the net only added to the comedy of errors.
It was 3-1 five minutes later – Messi's right-footed volley coming back off the post, but Barca's talisman was on hand to tuck in the rebound.
Getafe received a lifeline when Araujo was adjudged after a VAR check to have fouled Unal, who converted the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit with 21 minutes remaining.
Yet Araujo made amends in the 87th minute, powerfully heading home from Messi's corner to secure the points, with Griezmann's last-minute penalty adding further gloss to a win which moves Barca third, five points behind Atleti with a game in hand.
What does it mean? Camp Nou comforts
Atleti's 2-0 win over Huesca put the pressure on Barca, but Koeman's men answered – albeit the scoreline perhaps flattered them following a shaky second-half display. They are now two points behind Real Madrid and five off the pace, but the game in hand on both of their title rivals could put them right in the mix.
Barca have also gone 13 league games without defeat at Camp Nou, since a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid last October.
Messi ends Getafe drought in style
Messi had failed to score in his last three league appearances against Getafe at Camp Nou – his longest run without a goal at home against them in the competition, after scoring in his previous five at home against the team from Madrid.
That barren streak was ended in emphatic fashion on Thursday. Messi was integral to all of Barca's play, and he has now scored 25 LaLiga goals this term – two more than all of Getafe's players combined (23).
Chakla has a shocker
It was a dismal night for Getafe defender Chakla. His own goal was a classic blooper, and it was the centre-back who committed the desperate foul on Griezmann to hand Barca's forward the chance to make it 5-2.
Getafe have now failed to win in their last seven away LaLiga games (D1 L6), though they did at least find the net this time – they have failed to score in nine away LaLiga matches this season.
Key Opta facts
- After losing their last four LaLiga games against teams from the Madrid area, Barcelona have ended that grim sequence. This was a first such win in LaLiga since they beat Leganes 2-0 in June 2020, halting their worst run since February-December 1978 (L5).
- The last LaLiga game prior to this one to see both teams scoring an own goal was in December 2017 between Levante and Athletic Bilbao. Sergio Postigo and Aymeric Laporte were the unfortunate players that day.
- Barcelona hit the woodwork twice against Getafe and have done so 34 times this season across all competitions, more than any other team in the 'top five' European leagues (Real Madrid, 31).
- Getafe have played more away LaLiga games without a win against Barcelona (P16 D4 L12) than against any other opponent.
- Messi has scored four doubles in his last six games, as many as in his previous 25 games in all competitions.
- Griezmann has had a hand in eight goals in his last nine LaLiga games against Getafe (5 goals, 3 assists), after only one involvement in his previous nine appearances against them in the competition (1 goal).
Barca face a potentially tough trip to Europa League semi-finalists Villarreal in LaLiga on Sunday, with Getafe playing Huesca.