Pedro Rodriguez has fired a first-half hat-trick as an injury-plagued Barcelona came from two goals down to beat Getafe 5-2 and go top of La Liga on goal difference.
The signs looked ominous for the Catalan side as they went 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes on Sunday, after Sergio Escudero and Lisandro Lopez found the net for Getafe.
With top guns Lionel Messi and Neymar missing through injury and suspension, Pedro took it upon himself to rescue Barcelona.
It was a fantastic performance from Pedro and the whole team played well overall.
The Canary Islander chipped keeper Miguel Moya and added two clinical finishes before the break.
He also crossed for Cesc Fabregas to volley in the fourth midway through the second half, and was then fouled in the box with Cesc Fabregas scoring the penalty.
The battling spirit of Gerardo Martino’s side, who were also missing senior players Xavi Hernandez, Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol, shone through as they refused to cave in despite trailing for much of the first half.
Barcelona top the table on 46 points, level with Atletico Madrid, who beat Levante on Saturday, but with a healthier goal record.
Real Madrid needed a late goal by substitute Jese Rodriguez to earn a 3-2 victory at Valencia to stay in third place and three points behind its title rivals.
“We had 15 bad minutes before the team rediscovered their composure and played how we had planned,” Martino told a news conference.
“We got the result we wanted and it was a good game.
“It was a fantastic performance from Pedro and the whole team played well overall.”
Sergio Roberto was preferred to Alex Song in the Barca midfield and Fabregas played through the middle in attack against an inconsistent Getafe side that was thrashed 7-0 by Atletico Madrid last month.
Getafe took the lead after 10 minutes when a flick from Angel Lafita sent Escudero scampering clear and he beat keeper
Jose Manuel Pinto unchallenged.
Minutes later Lopez was left unmarked at a corner and placed his header past Pinto.
Barca remained shaky at the back but began to show signs of improvement which led to Pedro pulling a goal back as he clipped the ball over Moya from the edge of the area.
Pedro then came in from the left and cracked a right foot shot into the top corner and completed his hat-trick, latching on to a pull-back by Jordi Alba, to slot in.
The goals continued to flow in the second half as Fabregas connected sweetly with a Pedro cross to score with a left-foot volley from close range, and later beat the keeper with a penalty after Pedro was felled by Borja Fernandez.