Barcelona maintained their seemingly unstoppable march towards a 22nd Liga title with a routine 6-1 win over Getafe at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Andres Iniesta was the star of the show, creating goals for Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi inside the opening 13 minutes, before netting himself right at the death. The midfield maestro also had a hand in the Blaugrana's third, which was scored by David Villa, while Cristian Tello and Gerard Pique were also on target for the rampant hosts.
Getafe did manage a late consolation goal through substitute Alvaro but, in truth, they had never once looked remotely capable of denying Barca a victory which, for the time being at least, moves them 12 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who face Rayo Vallecano later in the day.
Indeed, while the Catalans went into the game without principal playmaker Xavi, it made little difference, as they still had Iniesta to pull the strings in midfield and he needed less than six minutes to prise open the Getafe defence with the kind of precision and vision that other players can only envy.
Picking the ball up on left-hand side, Iniesta played the most wonderfully measured diagonal pass through to Alexis, who had drifted in from the right flank. The Chilean, whose finishing has let him down more than once this season, took a surprisingly assured touch before calmly slipping the ball past the advancing Jordi Cordina.
For his next trick, Iniesta nonchalantly scooped the ball up and over the Getafe defence, and into the path of Thiago Alcantara, who cleverly laid the ball off to the supporting Messi. The forward's strike wasn’t particularly true, the Argentine losing his footing as he shot, but he still found the bottom-right corner of the goal to notch for the 13th Liga game in a row.
Messi should have netted again on the half hour, but volleyed against the base of the post after being brilliantly picked out unmarked in the area by Alexis’ first-time cross from the right wing. Villa was also guilty of poor finishing moments later after being teed up by Jordi Alba, but Spain’s record goalscorer was at least combining well with Messi, who headed just over after a neat one-two between the pair.
The chances kept coming for Barca in the second half, and both Messi and Alexis had shots cleared off the line after Alba had once again wrecked havoc with another surge down the left. The killer third goal finally arrived on 58 minutes, with Alba doing his best Iniesta impression by putting Villa through with a slide-rule pass that the striker finished with aplomb.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the hosts took their foot off the gas for a while but Tello injected some vitality back into the game after coming on as a substitute, the winger finishing superbly from the edge of the area after Messi had drawn the Getafe defence towards him.
The capital got off the mark when Alvaro prodded ball past the onrushing Victor Valdes after the otherwise impressive Alba had made a mess of a header back to his keeper.
However, Barcelona were not content to let their visitors have the final word and Iniesta got the goal that his performance deserved by slotting home after Messi had been halted, before Thiago left Pique with a tap-in in the dying seconds.