Brazil international Paulinho came off the bench to score a late winner a Barcelona came from behind to secure a hard-fought 2-1 win over Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez stadium on Saturday to maintain the Catalans’ perfect start to the new La Liga campaign.
Gaku Shibasaki’s wonder strike just before half-time gave Getafe a shock lead against Barca, who lost Ousmane Dembele to injury.
Denis Suárez brought the visitors back on level terms after blasting the ball into the roof of Guaita’s net thanks to a Sergi Roberto assist. New summer signing Paulinho struck a late winner with a well taken shot into the far post to deny the home side a point after a keenly contested encounter.
Ernesto Valverde handed Ousmane Dembele his first start for Barcelona in La Liga against the La Liga new boys. The former Dortmund man’s selection in the starting line-up came after featuring for the entirety of Barca’s 3-0 victory over Juventus in the Champions League midweek.
Elsewhere for the Catalans, Sergi Roberto replaced Nelson Semedo at right-back in an otherwise-unchanged XI.
Getafe, meanwhile, lined up with Gaku Shibasaki, who scored twice for Kashima Antlers in their 4-2 Club World Cup defeat to Real Madrid last year.
The home side had the first bite after kickoff when Shibasaki squared the ball across Ter Stegen’s goal on the overlap and took a deflection off Pique, which rolled just wide of the German’s right-hand post.
The Catalans soon suffered a blow when Dembele hobbled off, the winger having seemingly pulled up with a hamstring injury. Samuel Umtiti, meanwhile, powered a header at goal, but it was saved by Vicente Guaita.
That was followed by the ball dropping in front of Shibasaki, who smacked a fine volley into the roof of Ter Stegen’s net to become the first Japanese to score against Barca and Madrid in official matches.
Messi almost found a quick-fire equaliser, his free kick curling towards Guaita’s top-left corner, but the goalkeeper managed to tip it over.
Denis replaced Andres Iniesta at the break and proved an inspired option off the bench as he received Sergi Roberto’s took a touch and blasted the ball into the roof of Guaita’s net.
The game was tighter than Barca would’ve liked and something had to give, prompting Valverde into bringing on Paulinho for Ivan Rakitic.
Moments after Ter Stegen – on his 100th appearance – had to get down low to push a shot away at his near post, the Brazilian outmuscled his marker from Lionel Messi’s through ball, before slotting past Guaita.
Messi almost made it 3-1 before full-time whistle but the Argentine dragged his low shot inches wide of the left-hand post.