Getafe is Spain’s industrial hub, located 13 kilometers south of the capital city of Madrid. It has a football stadium called coliseum Alfonso Pérez, so named in the honor of the Spanish footballer Alfonso Pérez. Of the more than 100 football stadiums located all across Spain, the seating capacity of the Alfonso Perez, which is the home of Getafe FC, is less than 18000. It is quite small compared to FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou, which can accommodate nearly 100000 spectators and Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu, where over 85000 football fans can watch a match. It was at the Alfonso Pérez stadium that FC Barcelona came to play Getafe FC on Saturday last. Barca didn’t have a problem in Alfonso because the noise levels created by Getafe fans could not have been replicated to the same crescendo as that generated at Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabéu. But Barcelona’s real problem was manifest in its weakness, caused by the long absence of their world-famous superstar Lionel Messi, the injury to striker Xavi Fernandez and the unavailability of their new Brazilian recruit Neymar, who was serving a one-match suspension.
As the match began, Getafe began to dominate the proceedings. For some strange reasons, Barca’s defense showed fault lines in the early stages of the game. And this happened despite the return of Dani Alvez, their best defender. Alvez looked out-of-sorts and so did the other defenders, Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique. While Mascherano was found out of position on a few occasions, Pique was worse. He conceded two needless corner kicks. As a matter of fact, the second corner conceded by Pique resulted in Getafe taking a 2-0 lead. Earlier, Getafe had gone ahead 1-0 in the 10th minute, when their left back Sergio Escudero and forward Angel Lafita combined superbly to go past Dani Alves with ease. Thereafter, it was relatively easy for Escudero to hit a low shot on the far corner of the net to give Getafe the opener. In the 15th minute, Pique’s deliberately created corner allowed Pedro Leon to take a curling cross from the corner spot, which found an unmarked Lisandro Lopez. Jose Manuel Pinto appeared completely frozen, as he watched the cool header from Lopez passing right next to him. With Barca conceding such an early two-goal lead, Coach Gerardo Martino was spotted scratching his head in utter frustration.
But FC Barcelona were not down and out despite a bleak period for a while. They still had Pedro Rodriguez to turn the game on its head. This was 26-year-old Pedro’s fifth season with Barca but until now he has served as a reserve player since some star forwards were generally available. In this match on the road, however, Pedro served his club with aplomb with superb form and eminently displayed his goal scoring abilities.
11 minutes before the halftime, Cesc Fàbregas managed to send a superb pass to Pedro, who ran with the ball to easily pass Getafe defenders and found just the goalkeeper between himself and the goal. Then Pedro produced a nice chip from his position, which went off Moya’s extended hands into the goal. 7 minutes later, Pedro was seen racing from the left flank, almost unmarked. He created space for himself and banged a rising shot past Moya that shook the nets. In less than two minutes from the equalizer, Pedro completed his hat-trick, when a pass from Jordi Alba got deflected from the heel of a Getafe defender and landed in front of Pedro. He made no mistake in blasting another ringing shot past a hapless Moya. This brought a turnaround in the game and Barca went into halftime with a 3-2 lead.
Barca went further ahead in the 68th minute, when a Pedro-Alex Sanchez combination resulted into a scooped short pass for Fábregas, who shot it past Moya. Barca made it 5-2, when Pedro was dangerously obstructed and brought down, just when he was about to receive a ball. The referee promptly awarded the penalty and Fábregas made no mistake.
Pedro’s scintillating performance boosted his goal tally to 10 and he passed Messi for the team lead. On Saturday, he was directly or indirectly associated in every goal that Barca scored, including his assist to Fabregas in the 68th minute and the foul against him for the penalty award.
With the victory over Getafe Barca regained the top spot in la Liga ahead of Atletico Madrid by goal difference.