x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Guardiola 'cannot fault attitude'

Barcelona failed to make it 10 straight league wins in a row after being held at home by a battling Getafe side.

Barcelona's Daniel Alves, left, proved ineffective against Getafe.
Barcelona's Daniel Alves, left, proved ineffective against Getafe.

Barcelona failed to make it 10 straight league wins in a row after being held at home by a battling Getafe side. Manu Del Moral's 19th minute strike from 25 yards was only the second league goal that the Catalans had conceded in six games and it unsettled Pep Guardiola's men. The Barca coach said before the game that his team should not be over-reliant on the talents of the absent Lionel Messi. Yet for two thirds of the game, Messi was exactly who the Catalans missed as they struggled to break down the determined Madrilenos. With Andres Iniesta also injured and the young striker Bojan Krkric ineffective and unhappy on the wing, Barca lacked their usual creativity.

As the 72,000 crowd became increasingly impatient, it took two former Seville players to save Barca. Seydou Keita rose to head home an in-swinging cross from Daniel Alves in the 71st minute. Although Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto'o and Gerard Pique all came close as Barca twice hit the bar and enjoyed 73 per cent of possession in the second half, yet they could not add a winner. "Despite drawing, I cannot fault the attitude of my side," Guardiola said. "We needed to be wiser up front, but we dominated the game and I'm happy with my players."

Barca remain three points clear at the top. In Sunday's other games, Osasuna beat Almeria 3-1. Mallorca were held to a 2-2 home draw by Malaga as Deportivo La Coruna's home record continued when they beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1. amitten@thenational.ae