Liga leaders Barca drop more points, Atletico beat Almeria

Liga leaders Barca drop more points, Atletico beat Almeria

© AFP 2022
April 16, 2023 at 6:39 PM
Barcelona's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski and his team failed to find the net against Getafe
Barcelona's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski and his team failed to find the net against Getafe. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP
Source: AFP

A subdued Barcelona could not break down Getafe in a 0-0 draw on Sunday, dropping more points but still sitting 11 clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Third-place Atletico Madrid beat Almeria 2-1 at home with Antoine Griezmann netting a brace as he continued his sparkling form.

Champions Madrid beat Cadiz on Saturday to cut back Barcelona's lead, and with nine games remaining it seems highly unlikely they will catch Barcelona -- but Xavi Hernandez's side are limping over the line.

Barcelona drew 0-0 at home against Girona on Monday and followed that up with a second consecutive stalemate, the team still wallowing after their Copa del Rey semi-final thrashing by Madrid earlier in April.

The one positive for Barca was a 22nd clean sheet of the season in the top flight, with Getafe, 15th, not creating much danger.

"Here you suffer, because the grass is high, the usual tricks, so it's hard, the clear chances you have -- you have to put them away," Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen told DAZN.

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"It's a dry pitch, so it's difficult. We did things differently to normal, it's a point which isn't good but it's a point we're adding, obviously."

Xavi echoed Ter Stegen's complaint that the low quality of the pitch played a part in the result, but said Barca could not hide behind it.

"It's not an excuse, we weren't accurate, we made chances but we could not finish them," said Xavi.

"But yes, the grass did hurt us, the ball didn't run."

The coach said he was not worried about Barca not finding the net in three consecutive games across all competitions.

"That can happen, and it's also been a while since we let in goals," added Xavi.

"It's a very tough place to go, Getafe have a lot at stake, when they sit deep it's very hard, they are organised at the back."

No way through

After a slow start, the Catalans created the first clear chance at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, when Raphinha raced on to a long ball and fired against the post.

The rebound fell to Balde, but with the goal gaping, fumbled an effort which struck the same upright.

Sergi Roberto pulled up injured, seemingly with a hamstring issue, adding to Barcelona's long list of absentees.

The league leaders have badly missed explosive winger Ousmane Dembele and creative midfielder Pedri in recent weeks.

David Soria saved well to keep out a Robert Lewandowski header just before the break.

Lewandowski nodded narrowly wide from an Alba cross before Soria made another solid stop from a rasping Raphinha effort.

Getafe were content with the point, sitting back as Barcelona probed for a breakthrough, although Borja Mayoral almost snatched a winner for the hosts on the break.

Barcelona are still firm favourites to lift the title for the first time since 2019, but should they stumble at home against Atletico next weekend, doubts could creep in.

Getafe are provisionally four points clear of the drop zone, before Valencia, 18th, face Sevilla later Sunday.

Griezmann goals

Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann (2nd-L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal
Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann (2nd-L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal. Photo: Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP
Source: AFP

Atletico stayed two points behind Real Madrid with a narrow win over Almeria, 17th, which should have been more comfortable than it proved to be.

Antoine Griezmann headed Atletico ahead in the fifth minute when Angel Correa nodded on a corner to the back post.

Fans at the Metropolitano gave Correa an ovation in the 10th minute, in his first appearance after the death of his mother last week.

Diego Simeone's side were dominant throughout, but Almeria pulled level when Leo Baptistao's shot deflected in off Jose Gimenez.

Griezmann sent the Rojiblancos ahead again before the break, finishing clinically from Yannick Carrasco's pass at the end of a fine team move for his 11th league goal.

Carrasco and Griezmann both hit the post in the second half as Atletico looked to kill the game.

They could not find the third and Almeria gave Atletico a few scares in the final stages, appealing for a penalty when Gimenez handled but VAR showed there was an offside.

Girona, ninth, beat bottom-of-the-table Elche 2-0, leaving the stragglers 17 points from safety.

© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022