Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Barcelona
and Getafe from Camp Nou. Barca have already secured the league title, but have lost their last two matches in all competitions, including a shock 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night. On the surface, there is little for the Catalan giants to play for tonight. The same cannot be said for Getafe, though, with the capital outfit sitting fourth as they look to secure a Champions League finish. Stay tuned!
BARCA: Cillessen; Roberto, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Coutinho, Messi, Malcom
GETAFE: Soria; Damian, Djene, Cabrera, Olivera; Foulquier, Maksimovic, Arambarri, Shibasaki; Molina, Angel
Barca are without the services of Luis Suarez, who has undergone a knee operation. The Uruguay international joins Ousmane Dembele on the sidelines, with a hamstring problem making the attacker unavailable for selection. As a result, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho join Lionel Messi in the final third of the field. There is also a change in goal and at centre-back with Jasper Cillessen and Samuel Umtiti coming into the XI. Interesting team selection here.
As for Getafe, leading scorer Jaime Mata and key centre-back Bruno Gonzalez are both suspended. As a result, there is a spot in the final third for Angel, while Leandro Cabrera has dropped into central defence. There is also a start for Gaku Shibasaki as head coach Pepe Bordalas selects an attacking formation, which should make for an interesting clash here.
KICKOFF: Getafe kick things off here...
... possession football for Barca in the early moments, which is not much of a surprise. Far from a full house inside the stadium for this one, though. The atmosphere is down!
Not too much to report in the early stages in terms of attacking moments. Barca have the ball, but Getafe are fairly comfortable as they sit deep and absorb the pressure here.
There will be a lot of focus on Barcelona tonight, but the real story heading into this match involves Getafe. Indeed, a wonderful campaign thus far has brought El Geta 58 points, which has left them three points clear of fifth-placed Valencia heading into Week 37 in Spain's top flight.
Only Barca (3), Atletico (6) and Valencia (7) have lost fewer league games than Getafe (8) this season, while only Atletico (26) have conceded fewer goals (31). Even if Getafe were to fall short in their battle for fourth then the 2018-19 campaign would still be considered a huge success for the club. Indeed, the capital outfit only returned to Spain's top flight last season after a year in the Segunda Division; they posted eighth last term, but are now looking to secure a top-four spot for the first time in their history. Still goalless with eight minutes on the clock here.
Angel is fortunate to escape a yellow card for taking a swipe at Pique, who put his body in the way so the ball could drop behind. We are still waiting for the first big moment here.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Getafe as Angel finds all sorts of space inside the Barcelona box, but the number 19 misses the post. Really should be 1-0 to the away side here.
In terms of what is ahead for Barcelona, they will follow this clash by travelling to Eibar for their final La Liga game of the season next weekend. Then comes the final of the Copa del Rey against Valencia on May 24, and that will be it before pre-season starts again in the latter stages of July.
Lionel Messi has once again had a terrific campaign, managing 48 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions. The Argentine cut a very frustrated figure at Anfield during the week, though, and looks fired-up to cause Getafe some problems in this match.
Pass, pass, pass from Barcelona as they look to work some space in the final third, but Getafe are nice and compact, forcing the Spanish champions back time and time again.
As it stands, Getafe's best ever season in La Liga came back in 2009-10, when they finished sixth. Valencia will fancy their chances of beating Alaves tonight, but Sevilla are away to Atletico Madrid and therefore a positive result for Getafe at Camp Nou would place the team in an incredible position heading into their clash with Villarreal on May 18.
Much of Getafe's success this season has been built on their home form, which has seen them win 11 of their 18 matches. El Geta have lost just three times on their travels, but have recorded just four wins, with 11 away draws this term a league high. They'd take a draw here!
Goals from Messi and Luis Suarez saw Barca run out 2-1 winners over Getafe earlier this season. The two teams played out a goalless draw at Camp Nou last term, but Barca did thump El Geta 6-0 in Catalonia during the 2015-16 campaign. Still all square in this one.
DISALLOWED GOAL! Oh big moment! Getafe score through Molina, who finds the bottom corner with a fine finish. The goal is disallowed, though, and he did appear just offside there!
VAR confirms that Molina was just offside, but it was so close!
Getafe are very, very dangerous on the counter-attack. Barcelona continue to have more of the ball, but it is difficult to say that the home side are actually threatening a goal.
CLOSE! Molina just misses the post with a curling effort!
Barcelona continue to commit players in the final third, but there has not been much invention from the champions, and there is a case to be made for Getafe being the better side here.
It is worth remembering that Barca entered the clash with Liverpool off the back of a 2-0 loss at Celta Vigo last weekend. The Catalan giants have been the best team in Spain's top flight once again, though, winning 25, drawing eight and losing just three of their 36 league games thus far.
SHOT! Rakitic strikes wide of the Getafe post from distance.
SAVE! Smart goalkeeping from Soria to keep out a low strike from Rakitic.
YELLOW CARD! Foulquier (Getafe) is booked for a foul on Coutinho.
Little over five minutes of the first period remaining, and we are still goalless. Getafe have had the better chances, but Barcelona have controlled the possession for long periods.
GOAL! BARCELONA 1-0 GETAFE (VIDAL)
There's the breakthrough! Barcelona take the lead in the 39th minute of this match as Vidal smashes home from close range after Pique had seen his header saved by Soria!
SHOT! Half-chance for Angel, but his strike is wide of Cillessen's post.
SAVE! Super save from Soria to keep out a low strike from Malcom!
Getafe are currently out of the top four as Valencia are winning, but there is still a lot of football to be played before the end of Week 37. Not long left in the first period, though.
HALF TIME: BARCELONA 1-0 GETAFE
So there we have it - the referee brings the first period to a close with Barcelona leading 1-0 courtesy of a close-range finish from Vidal. Getafe have had some wonderful chances to score, though, and had a goal disallowed when Molina was offside. All to play for here!
STATISTICS! Barcelona had 80% possession in the first period, hitting the target with four of their five attempts. Getafe, meanwhile, managed four attempts off target. As mentioned, though, the visitors have had some super chances, and really should have scored in this game.
BENCH WATCH! Flamini, Portillo and Saiz are amongst those available for Getafe in the second period. Barcelona, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Alena, Ruiz and Semedo. Todibo is also available, but Arthur, Dembele, Luis Suarez and Rafinha are all injured.
KICKOFF: Barcelona resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops.
Early pressure from the home side in the second period as Roberto and Alba both find space in wide areas, but Getafe are defending very narrow and therefore crowd the box.
You do get the feeling that there are more goals in this match - particularly with Getafe needing to take some chances as they go in search of a leveller. As it stands, El Geta are not in the Champions League positions heading into the final matchday of the season.
YELLOW CARD! Olivera (Getafe) is booked for a foul on Roberto.
Half-chance for the home side as Vidal meets a deep free kick at the far post, but the South American cannot find the back of the net. Still 1-0 with 54 minutes on the clock here.
SAVE! Smart save from Soria to keep out a chipped effort from Messi.
Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining, and Barcelona are the team looking the more likely to score the game's second goal. But that could change pretty quickly here.
SAVE! Wow! Incredible save from Soria to keep out a close-range effort from Malcom, who had been found by Pique inside the box. Just had to be Barcelona's second of the match!
BARCELONA SUB! Alena replaces Rakitic for the home team.
Little over 25 minutes of football remaining, and Vidal's goal is still the difference here.
You do get the feeling that there will be a chance for Getafe in the final 25 minutes or so, but they must take it, and must also prevent Barcelona from scoring a second.
CLOSE! Wonderful defending from Cabrera, who somehow clears a Messi effort off the line!
Little over 20 minutes of the second period remaining, and it is a very open game at the moment with Getafe pushing forward, leaving space down the other end. Pique has actually just raced down the right wing, before Getafe break down the other end.
BARCELONA SUB! Ruiz replaces Coutinho for the home side.
Angel has a shot deflected behind as Getafe start to offer more going forward here.
Again it is smart goalkeeping from Cillessen, who is quick off his line to clear ahead of Angel, who is easily Getafe's most dangerous player at the moment.
Possession football from Barcelona as we approach the final 15 minutes here.
GETAFE SUB! Saiz replaces Foulquier for the away side.
YELLOW CARD! Vidal (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Cabrera.
Little over 10 minutes of the second period remaining, and Barcelona are preparing to make another change as Semedo receives his instructions. Might well be for Malcom here.
BARCELONA SUB! Semedo for Malcom is the change.
The ball bounces off Messi inside the Getafe box and the away side can clear their lines - has not really happened for the Argentine tonight. But there is still time to score!
SHOT! Messi smashes high and wide from just outside the Getafe box.
A point would be huge for Getafe in their battle for fourth, but the clock is ticking on and Barcelona are the team looking more likely to score the game's second goal here.
GETAFE SUB! Duro replaces Angel for the away side.
SAVE! Ruiz breaks into a dangerous spot, but Soria makes a smart save, before the Getafe goalkeeper keeps out a strike from Messi moments later. Still 1-0 to the home side.
OFF THE POST! Oh my word! Huge chance for Getafe, but Molina nods against the post!
GOAL! BARCELONA 2-0 GETAFE (MESSI)
Messi finally gets his goal as the Argentine converts from close range after a clever pass from Roberto. Messi has missed a host of chances, but finally nets late on here!
We are into the first of four additional minutes here.
SHOT! Saiz strikes over the Barcelona crossbar from a dangerous position.
YELLOW CARD! Dakonam (Getafe) is booked for a foul on Messi.
FULL TIME: BARCELONA 2-0 GETAFE
So there we have it - the referee brings the second period to a close with Barcelona running out 2-0 winners over Getafe on the penultimate matchday of the 2018-19 campaign. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. Until next time!