Barcelona played out a tepid 0-0 draw away at Getafe to seal second spot in La Liga and claim direct entry to next season’s Spanish Super Cup.
An underwhelming first half saw little goalmouth action other than a Getafe penalty claim that was waved away by the referee, after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen palmed a ball into the path of Enes Unal before clumsily bundling the Turkish striker to the floor.
The second half mirrored the first, with limited action to report other than a speculative shot lashed over by Barcelona youngster Alejandro Balde.
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Xavi's men will now finish the season in second place while Getafe move up to 14th and have secured their mathematical safety with a game to play.
BARCELONA ACHIEVE ALL THEIR OBJECTIVES There were few talking points from what was a truly dire affair at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, however both teams will cherish the invaluable point.
At full time the Getafe players and staff rushed onto the pitch in jubilation as the Madrid-based club sealed their survival with a game to spare, while Barcelona’s players were naturally more measured and stoic.
However the Catalan club also have reason to celebrate, given the result sees Xavi’s side achieve all domestic objectives their manager had laid out when he joined the club in November.
The draw confirms Xavi’s side’s status as La Liga runners-up, and brings the Blaugrana direct entry to the Spanish Super Cup, while crucially Barcelona will also be playing in the Champions League next season.
Barcelona are reportedly over £1billion in debt and financial mismanagement led to them being forced into releasing Lionel Messi, their greatest ever player.
However this week’s result means that game-by-game, Xavi is taking his beloved club closer to its former glories, even if at times it is not pretty.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alejandro Balde - In a game with no outstanding individual performances for either side, Balde had a quietly effective game filling in for Barcelona stalwart Jordi Alba.
Though he didn’t do anything particularly flashy there was an intrinsic maturity to the 18-year-old’s play, as is typical of most youngsters that graduate from the club’s fabled La Masia.
He even had a half-chance to score after the ball presented itself to the youngster on the edge of the box, though Balde’s first-time strike sailed over the bar.
GETAFE: Soria - 5, Djene - 6, Unal - 7, Alena - 6, Cuenca - 6, Olivera - 6, Arambarri - 6, Okay - 6, Maksimovic - 6, Damian - 6, Mayoral - 6… Subs Florentino - 5, Villar - 5, Sandro - 5, Oscar - 5
BARCELONA: Ter Stegen - 5, Sergio - 6, Puig - 6, Alves - 6, Memphis - 6, Lenglet - 6, Ferran - 6, Mingueza - 6, Aubameyang - 5, Gavi - 6, Balde - 7… Subs. Fati - 6, De Jong - 5, Marmol - 5
38’ - GETAFE CHANCE - Unal had the game’s first effort of significance as the Getafe striker found space on the edge of the box, shifted the ball onto his left foot and struck at goal, however the low shot was gathered easily by Ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal.
45’ - GETAFE PENALTY SHOUT - On the stroke of halftime Dani Alves sliced a clearance into the air which Ter Stegen then attempted to gather.
However the German stopper parried the ball into the path of Unal, who then had a penalty appeal waved away after colliding with the goalkeeper.
82’ - BARCELONA CHANCE - Ansu Fati showed off his quality by taking a raking through ball into his stride and accelerating into the Getafe box before being crowded out by defenders.
The ball then fell to Balde who struck a speculative shot over the bar from the edge of the area.
FULL TIME - In a game starved of goalmouth action, one of its highlights were the scenes of jubilant celebration from the Getafe players and staff at full time, after the club secured a sixth consecutive season in the Spanish top flight.
Barcelona are unbeaten away from home under Xavi’s leadership while they have the second best away record in La Liga this term, having picked up 35 points from 19 matches.
In a match starved of quality Getafe recorded an expected goals (XG) of 0.45 while Barcelona had an XG of 0.20.
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