Messi inspires as Barca thrash Getafe

Lionel Messi scored for the 13th consecutive Primera Division game as Catalan giants humble Getafe 6-1 at the Nou Camp.

    Messi inspires as Barca thrash Getafe
    The win marked the 20th victory in 23 matches for Barcelona, who move on the 62 points at the top of the Spanish table [GALLO/GETTY]

    Lionel Messi extended his record by scoring for a 13th consecutive round as Barcelona beat Getafe 6-1 at Camp Nou on Sunday, with Andres Iniesta controlling much of the game for the Spanish league leaders.

    Iniesta passed for Alexis Sanchez to open in the sixth minute. Messi then doubled the advantage from another move started by Iniesta in the 13th with his league-leading 35th goal in 23 games this season.

    Forwards David Villa and Cristian Tello, Iniesta and defender Gerard Pique all scored in the second half for the hosts.

    Barcelona increased their lead to 12 points over Atletico Madrid after they lost 2-1 at upstart Rayo Vallecano in a Spanish capital derby. Defending champions Real Madrid are 16 points adrift of the pacesetters.

    "When you play against Barcelona, you are playing against the two best players in the world in Messi and Iniesta,'' Getafe coach Luis Garcia said.

    "The difference is abysmal.''

    Also on Sunday, Real Sociedad and Espanyol continued their impressive run of play with wins away from home.

    Sociedad have only one defeat in their last 13 games after beating 10-man Real Zaragoza 2-1.

    Sociedad moved into seventh place thanks to goals by Antoine Griezmann and Imanol Agirretxe.

    Espanyol, meanwhile, confirmed their turnaround under new coach Javier Aguirre as they routed Athletic Bilbao 4-0, rising to 13th place and eight points clear of the relegation zone. The Barcelona-based side have only lost once in 10 matches since Aguirre took over.

    Under-strength team

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday 9 February

    Mallorca 1-1 Osasuna
    Celta de Vigo 0-1 Valencia
    Levante 1-2 Malaga
    Deportivo 0-3 Granada
    Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla

    Sunday 10 February

    Barcelona 6-1 Getafe
    R Zaragoza 1-2 R Sociedad
    Athletic Bilbao 0-4 Espanyol
    R Vallecano 2-1 Atl Madrid

    After relying on the same group of starters in recent matches, Barcelona made various changes following an international week and with the Champions League set to restart this month.

    Alexis made his first league start since December 22, while Villa, Alex Song and Adriano also got the go-ahead. Thiago Alcantara replaced injured playmaker Xavi Hernandez, out for two weeks with a muscle injury in his right leg.

    Even though Barcelona's squad featured players who had spent more time on the bench than on the pitch recently, Getafe never had a chance to spring an upset.

    Iniesta put on a double exhibition of dribbling and passing, and Messi was his usual brilliant self.

    Alexis also stood out in his best game of the season. The Chile forward was active as ever but finally recovered the scoring touch that had eluded him all campaign as well as the poise and timing Barcelona's intricate passing attack requires.

    "I know the class of player I am and what I am capable of,'' Alexis said.

    "I have been creating chances, just not putting them in. Those of us who come off the bench and play fewer minutes know that we have one task when we do play: to play well.''

    Getafe were lucky to only be losing 2-0 by halftime as Barcelona failed to finish off a series of chances after Alexis and Messi got them rolling.

    Iniesta met Alexis' run with a perfectly weighted diagonal pass through the defence which Alexis deftly slipped behind onrushing goalkeeper Jordi Codina for his first goal in league play this season.

    Iniesta cued Barcelona's second goal with a lofted pass that Thiago controlled with his chest before generously laying off to Messi, who swept the ball into the net while falling to the turf.

    Alexis came close to creating two more goals only to see Messi volley his lob off the post just after the half-hour mark and Thiago's short-range effort was blocked by defender Miguel Torres two minutes before halftime.

    Barcelona didn't squander their opportunities after the break.

    Iniesta played Jordi Alba wide for the back to thread a pass behind the defence, which Villa sent between Codina's legs for Barcelona's third goal in the 58th.

    Substitute Tello netted in the 79th with a strike from the edge of the box after receiving a pass from Messi before Alvaro Vazquez got Getafe's consolation goal in the 83rd.

    Iniesta pushed in a rebound of a shot by Messi in the 90th, and Thiago let Pique roll in the sixth two minutes into injury time with Getafe completely undone in defence.



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