Paulinho nets late winner

Barcelona preserved their 100 percent start to the season as Paulinho’s late winner secured a 2-1 victory over Getafe in La Liga on Saturday.

Gaku Shibasaki’s wonder strike just before half-time gave Getafe a shock lead against Barca, who lost Ousmane Dembele to injury, but Ernesto Valverde’s substitutes made all the difference, with Denis and Paulinho both getting on the scoresheet.

Dembele made his first start for Barca and Sergi Roberto replaced Nelson Semedo at right-back, in an otherwise-unchanged XI.

Getafe, meanwhile, lined up with Shibasaki, who scored twice for Kashima Antlers in their 4-2 Club World Cup defeat to Real Madrid last year.

The Japanese squared the ball across Ter Stegen’s goal on the overlap, which rolled just wide of the German’s right-hand post via Gerard Pique.

The Blaugrana 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 player 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 cutback, took a touch and blasted the ball into the roof of Guaita’s net.

The game, however, remained 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 for the visitors – 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 and slotted past Guaita.

Messi almost made it 3-1 a matter of seconds later, but the Argentine dragged his low shot inches wide of the left-hand post.

Getafe 1-2 Barcelona 

Shibasaki 39 (G) Denis 62, Paulinho 84 (B)

Getafe: Guaita; Damian, Djene, Cala, Antunes; Bergara, Arambarri (Portillo 85); Fajr, Shibasaki (Alvaro Jimenez 54), Ndiaye (Mora 71); Molina

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic (Paulinho 77), Busquets, Iniesta (Denis 46); Messi, Suarez, Dembele (Deulofeu 29)

Referee: Hernandez Hernandez

La Liga - Club News