MADRID: Barcelona’s Champions League recovery has begun and Getafe’s hopes of qualifying for the tournament could be over after they were beaten 2-0 at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Arturo Vidal’s finish and a Djene Dakonam own-goal saw Barca bounce back from their capitulation against Liverpool, even if their fans had not forgotten judging by the swathes of empty seats and scattering of whistles before kick-off.
“It has been a difficult game for all of us,” said Sergio Busquets. “We are trying to heal a wound that isn’t small.”
Getafe might have hoped for their opponents to suffer a longer European hangover but instead they drop out of the top four, with one match left to play, after Valencia eased to a 3-1 victory over Alaves.
“We lost but I’m proud,” said Getafe coach Jose Bordalas. “We have to win our last game and then we’ll see.”
Valencia now sit fourth, level 58 on points with Getafe, but in front due to their superior head-to-head. They finish the season away at struggling Real Valladolid while Getafe are at home to Villarreal.
Sixth-placed Sevilla still have a chance to earn the final Champions League spot after a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid. They will need to win their final match against Athletic Bilbao at home and hope for setbacks by Valencia and Getafe.
With Barcelona having already secured the title, Atletico clinched their second straight second-place finish with the draw against Sevilla.
Real Madrid ended third after a 3-1 loss at Real Sociedad, a result that kept the team winless in five away matches since coach Zinedine Zidane returned. Real hadn’t finished outside the top two in the league in consecutive seasons since 1973-74.
At the other end of the table, Girona are all but relegated. Their 2-1 defeat to Levante leaves them needing to make up three points on Celta Vigo, as well as a six-goal swing in goal difference next weekend. Rayo Vallecano and Huesca were already relegated.
Barca played with most of their regular starters against Getafe, including Lionel Messi.
Jorge Molina thought he had put Getafe ahead in the first half but was ruled offside by VAR and then hit the post in the 88th minute with a header from close range.
In between, Vidal gave Barcelona the lead, turning in the rebound after Gerard Pique’s header was pushed out by David Soria.
Molina might have equalised but instead Lionel Messi forced a late second after a one-two with Sergi Roberto was poked in by Getafe’s Djene.
Barca still have the Copa del Rey trophy to play for. They will face Valencia in the May 25 final in Seville.
Real took the lead over Sociedad with Brahim Diaz’s first goal with the club early in the first half, but the hosts rallied to earn the victory.
Atletico opened the scoring against Sevilla with a goal by Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion in the first half, with the visitors equalising through Pablo Sarabia after halftime.
Valencia are in pole position to finish fourth, Carlos Soler, Santi Mina and Kevin Gameiro giving them victory over Alaves to ease the disappointment of losing to Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2019