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La Liga: Barcelona suffer first defeat at Getafe

Barcelona slumped to their first defeat of the 2020/21 La Liga season in a dismal 1-0 defeat at Getafe on Saturday night at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Madrid.

Jaime Mata’s penalty conversion in the second half was the difference on the scoreboard, but the talking point will be the lack of chances generated by a Barcelona side that never found its rhythm during the 90 minutes.

There were some eye-opening inclusions in the starting, with Ousmane Dembele given his first start along with youngster Pedri. Some history was also made with Sergino Dest manning the left-back spot, making the former Ajax man the first ever United States national team player to start a match for the Catalan club. Meanwhile, up top, Ronald Koeman went with the duo of Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi.

The first scoring chance fell for Getafe, with Nemanja Maksimovic volleying right at Neto, which was then followed by Dest setting up Messi, whose shot struck the post.

Griezmann’s Barcelona woes continued in glaring fashion with a horrific finish after being played in by Pedri.┬áThe Frenchman only had Getafe goalkeeper Soria to beat, but instead sent his shot to the heavens.

Overall, though, it was a frustrating first 45 minutes for Koeman’s side, with scattered performances across the board, including an error-prone Dembele who looked rusty after so many months of inactivity.

There was a malaise to Barcelona’s play and it took another dour turn when Frenkie de Jong was whistled for a penalty early in the second half when he clattered into Djene in the Barcelona area. Mata stepped up and calmly converted the spot kick to hand Getafe a 1-0 advantage.

Koeman needed a spark, so Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho were called on to replace Dembele and Pedri respectively, just after the hour mark. But the tempo from the visitors in the pink shirts remained the same, allowing Allan Nyom and the Getafe defence to muscle away any Barcelona attack.

Trincao and Martin Braithwaite were the next men selected by Koeman to try to get Barcelona going, but it was Getafe who had more of a cutting edge going forward and a superb pass from Marc Cucurella into Cucho Hernandez ended with the Colombian firing a shot that Neto tipped onto the crossbar and out.

Koeman’s last change saw out-of-favour Riqui Puig get a chance to make a difference in the final minutes when he replaced Sergi Roberto.

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An error from Dest should have seen Cucho put the nail in Barcelona’s coffin, but he sprayed his shot well over the crossbar to give Koeman’s men a reprieve and, in stoppage time,┬áMessi had a late chance, as did Dest. But his deep cross was headed by Djene onto the crossbar.

No goal was forthcoming for Barcelona, who will be faced with a laundry list of questions before next week’s Clasico.

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