Subs to the rescue
Denis Suarez and Paulinho lead Barca to victory over unlucky Getafe
Substitutes Denis Suarez and Paulinho got Barcelona out of jail to maintain their 100 per cent record with an undeserved victory over Getafe.
The subdued visitors, who lost record signing Ousmane Dembele to a hamstring injury, were second best for long periods and fell behind to a wonder-strike from Gaku Shibasaki before the break.
But despite creating few chances, Barca bounced back in the second period and levelled through Denis before Paulinho struck an excellent late winner.
Getafe had their first shot on target after just 70 seconds through Jorge Molina, who soon threatened again by nutmegging Gerard Pique only for the visiting defender to commit a desperate foul on the edge of the box.
Dembele then dawdled in possession and Getafe nearly profited as Shibasaki’s cross deflected off Pique and drifted just wide.
Dembele soon hobbled off, but his team finally fashioned their first chance after 31 minutes, with Andres Iniesta delivering a cross which found Samuel Umtiti unmarked but his header was straight at Vicente Guaita.
Getafe remained on top and the opener soon arrived when Shibasaki met Markel Bergara’s downward header with a sublime left-footed volley to give Marc-Andre ter Stegen no chance and register an contender for goal of the season.
Barca nearly grabbed an undeserved leveller on the stroke of halftime when Iniesta was fouled 30 yards from goal, but Getafe keeper Guaita produced a stunning save to deny Lionel Messi’s vicious freekick towards the top left corner.
Iniesta made way for Denis at the break, and the change paid off just after the hour mark as Sergi Roberto won a loose ball and cut back a cross for Denis, who expertly steered it beyond the dive of Guaita.
Getafe looked more likely to seal the three points as Alvaro Jimenez’s long-ranger forced Ter Stegen into an awkward save and then Mauro Arambarri had an effort deflected onto the post by Roberto.
But late on the otherwise surprisingly quiet Messi drifting forward to find Paulinho, who charged into the box before unleashing a powerful strike into the bottom corner.
Better call Paul: Paulinho (r), whose summer signing was questioned, scored his first goal for Barcelona in timely fashion.