Angel Lafita scored twice to give Getafe an unbelievable 2-2 draw against Barcelona, to shake things up at both ends of the table.
The Blaugrana were looking for the three points that would take them to within one of leaders Atletico Madrid, and did so with Alexis Sanchez and Pedro partnering Messi up front. The away side meanwhile, were two points above the drop and looking perilously over their shoulder.
It was the first home game for the Catalan giants since the sad passing of former Coach Tito Vilanova, and after an impeccably observed minute’s silence, the game got off to a bright start, with Tata Martino’s men settling into their usual rhythm.
They were having all the possession, and the Camp Nou outfit almost made it count inside five minutes. A good cross from Dani Alves hit Juan Valera, but the defender’s header ricocheted just off target for a corner.
It was the other full-back who had the best of the early chances though, almost breaking the deadlock after 15 minutes. A lovely ball from Andres Iniesta found Adriano, and the Brazil international’s cross-shot whistled past Julio Cesar, but also the far post.
Barca were completely dominating the game, but that quick start gave way to a rather subdued dip in the action, as the Catalan team looked happy to keep the ball at will and wait for an opening to appear. The Azulones however, were holding firm at the back, trying to plug any gaps that would appear.
But Cosmin Contra’s men could do nothing on 23 minutes as the hosts took the lead they had been threatening. Alves received the ball on the right-hand side, played a first time pass to Messi, and the former Ballon d’Or winner crashed in an effort from 12 yards.
And it was almost two soon after but for a superb save from Julio Cesar. Pedro beat Juan Valera inside the area, and fired a shot low to the goalkeeper’s left – the Brazilian however, got down well and palmed the ball away.
With seven minutes of the half remaining it seemed as if Barca would rue that stop, as the Azulones netted an unexpected equaliser. After a free kick wasn’t cleared by the Blaugrana backline, there was Angel Lafita to palm off Javier Mascherano steer home an effort past Jose Pinto.
After the break, Martino’s boys came out of the blocks quickly, looking for that goal to ease obvious tensions that were emanating from around the ground.
And they almost got it after only 50 minyutes. A cross from Alves again, found Messi inside the 12-yeard box, but the Argentina international’s header crashed off the crossbar.
The record-breaker was in the groove, and almost got his and Barca’s second on the hour mark. With three defenders around him, Messi skipped and dummied his way into the area before shooting at goal. Julio Cesar however, got down well and saved easily.
All that pressure eventually told though, as Alexis netted on 67 minutes to give the hosts the lead for the second time. A loose ball inside the area landed at the feet of the Chile international, and he was there to smash in from eight yards.
The nerves didn’t stop for Barcelona though, and it was Jose Pinto who produced a match-winning save to keep the Catalans in with a shout of the title. A cross from Sergio Escudero found Pablo Sarabia inside the area. The midfielder struck a superb volley, but the veteran goalkeeper acrobatically tipped the ball away.
But with the last kick of the game, Getafe netted to claim the most unlikely of points. Jaime Gavilan’s cross found Lafita, and the 29-year-old was there, unmarked, to head in.
Barcelona 2-2 Getafe
Scorers: Messi 23 (B), Alexis 67 (B); Lafita 37, 90 (G)
Barcelona: Pinto; Alves, Bartra, Mascherano (Cesc 65), Adriano; Xavi (Song 88), Busquets, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Pedro (Tello 90)
Getafe: Julio César, Valera, Alexis, Rafa, Escudero, Lacen (Michel 86), Juan Rodríguez, Lafita, Sarabia, Sammir (Mosquera 69), Colunga (Gavilan 45)