Messi Brace helps Barca Crush Getafe

Madrid, Sep 16 (IANS): Barcelona maintained their 100 percent start to the season and remained top of the Primera Liga football thanks to a comfortable 4-1 win over Getafe.

Leo Messi came off the bench Saturday night to score two vital goals that put the result beyond doubt after Adriano had opened the scoring in the first half.

Getafe's consolation goal came thanks to a deflected own goal from Javier Mascherano, before David Villa rounded off a good night for Barca with his second goal of the season.

Barca coach Tito Vilanova produced several surprises in his starting line up with the main one being his decision to rest Javier Mascherano and Messi following their international duty with Argentina over the past week.

Meanwhile, Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez were out with muscle injuries and Jordi Alba missed the game with flu.

Dani Alves was also rested to protect his recent muscle problems, while Cesc Fabrigas, Martin Montoya, Christian Tello and Carles Puyol all came into the starting 11.

Barca had lost away to Getafe last season and it was clear it would be a difficult encounter this time around as the home side packed their defense and looked to play on the break.

Both sides had penalty appeals in the opening minutes with Barca especially unlucky not to get a spot kick after Miguel Torres appeared to handle in the penalty area.

Watched by Vilanova from the stands, Barca began to take control and took the lead just after the half hour when Adriano was on hand to take advantage of a good run from Cesc Fabrigas and slot the goal home for his second in two games in his 200th league appearance.

The second half started badly as Puyol was forced out of the game with a possible recurrence of his knee problem and he was replaced by Marc Bartra, although Barca were still carving out chances and Tello and Pedro Rodriguez saw shots saved by Getafe keeper, Miguel Angel Moya.

They doubled their lead after 74 minutes when Messi, who had come on as a second half substitute, scored a penalty following a foul on Pedro by Juan Varela.

Messi added his second of the night with a tap-in following good work from Martin Montoya down the right, before Mascherano was unlucky to deflect a shot from Sarabia back Victor Valdes to give Getafe a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer was soon extinguished as Villa rounded off the night with a fourth goal after controlling a chipped pass from Xavi.


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Title: Messi Brace helps Barca Crush Getafe

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