Barcelona stumbles again, held 0-0 at home by Getafe
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona has hit a bit of a slump, and Atletico Madrid is edging back into the title race.
Barcelona stumbled for the second consecutive weekend in the Spanish league on Sunday, being held 0-0 by Getafe and seeing Atletico move within seven points of the lead.
Atletico cut into Barcelona’s lead by defeating bottom side Malaga 1-0 on Saturday, extending its winning streak to three matches.
Diego Simeone’s team hasn’t been this close to the lead since last year, when the gap was at six points in the 16th round. Barcelona had an 11-point lead two rounds ago.
After needing a late equalizer to avoid defeat against crosstown rival Espanyol in the previous round, Barcelona couldn’t find the net against midtable Getafe at Camp Nou Stadium.
Barcelona dominated but wasn’t able to create many significant scoring chances, and when it got close it was stopped by Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who had a goal disallowed for offside just before halftime, weren’t at their best and could not break through the Getafe defense.
“You can’t win every match you play and you can’t be consistent all the time,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. “We will have to work hard to win this league.”
It was only the fifth time this season that Barcelona failed to score in all competitions. It hadn’t gone without a goal at Camp Nou in the league since a scoreless draw against Malaga in November 2016.
“We played a great match,” Getafe coach Jose Bordalas said. “You deserve a lot of credit when you hold Barcelona scoreless.”
Getafe, 10th in the standings, has drawn four straight matches, losing only once in its last seven games.
Colombia defender Yerry Mina was in the starting lineup for his Liga debut. He had to play because Gerard Pique was injured and Samuel Umtiti suspended. Central defender Thomas Vermaelen also couldn’t play because of injury.
Inconsistent in defense, Mina was a constant threat on set pieces in attack, nearly scoring with a header in the second half.
France forward Ousmane Dembele was back in action for Barcelona after recovering from his most recent injury, entering the match midway through the second half.
Defending champion Real Madrid routed Real Sociedad 5-2 at home on Saturday behind a hat trick by Cristiano Ronaldo, staying one point behind third-placed Valencia. Madrid is 17 points off the lead with a game in hand.
LOSING STREAK OVER
Valencia snapped an uncomfortable six-match losing streak by defeating city rival Levante 3-1.
Santi Mina, Luciano Vietto and Dani Parejo scored for the hosts, which hadn’t won since the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals in January.
“This was important, it had been a long time since our last win,” Mina said.
Levante, whose winless streak reached seven matches, complained of a goal disallowed when the score was 1-1.
Levante is two points from the relegation zone.
Sevilla defeated Girona 1-0 with a winner by Pablo Sarabia early in the second half at Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium.
Girona missed a chance to open the scoring before halftime when Aday Benitez had his penalty shot saved by Sergio Rico.
The Sevilla goalkeeper had a stellar performance, making several other great stops throughout the match.
Sevilla is sixth in the standings, one point behind Villarreal.
Girona is ninth.
Gerard Moreno scored with a low shot from outside the area in the 87th minute as Espanyol salvaged a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo.
Maxi Gomez had put the hosts ahead just seven minutes earlier at Balaidos Stadium.
Leo Baptistao opened the scoring for Espanyol in the 10th and Gomez equalized in the 32nd.
Celta stayed in eighth place. Espanyol is 15th.
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