Defending champions Barcelona upped the pressure on leaders Real Madrid on Tuesday as they moved to within a point of their bitter rivals after a 4-0 thumping of Getafe.
Two goals from Alexis Sanchez, one from Pedro Rodriguez and Lionel Messi’s 39th in the league this season gave Barca a 10th consecutive league victory after another near perfect performance by the Catalans.
In the 22nd minute the home crowd chanted the name of Eric Abidal, the French international who on Tuesday underwent a liver transplant, in recognition of the number 22 shirt he wears as part of Barca’s squad.
Real can restore their four point advantage if they beat Atletico Madrid on Wednesday – they have not lost to their city rivals since 1999.
The clash between Barca and Madrid on April 21st in the Camp Nou has become increasingly important as the Catalans have reduced the gap on Madrid from 10 points to only one in less than a month.
Barcelona dominated Getafe throughout, controlling possession with their usual passing game and goalkeeper Victor Valdes summed up the situation on the final whistle.
“Our work is done here, lets wait and see what Madrid do tomorrow night in their game,” he said.
However coach Pep Guardiola was cautious about talking about his team’s title chances.
“All we can do is think about our games, we have a big game away to Levante at the weekend and then a Champions League semifinal, we have to focus on those games and nobody elses,” he said.
Andres Iniesta had the game’s first chance when his shot was tipped over by Miguel Angel Moya in the Getafe goal on 12 minutes.
A minute later and Barca were ahead. Iniesta started the move on the left for Messi to chest the ball into the path of the Chilean Sanchez who made no mistake from 20 yards out.
On 17 minutes the lead was almost doubled when Xavi Hernandez had appeared to finish perfectly a neat passing move only for Argentinian centre-half Cata Diaz to scoop the ball clear on the goal-line.
Barca continued to dominate but did not add to their lead until just before halftime when Iniesta supplied Messi with a delightful back flick for the Argentinian to finish with a powerful shot.
On 72 minutes Alexis doubled his tally heading home an inch perfect right-wing cross from youngster Isaac Cuenca.
Two minutes later and it was another header from Pedro who rounded off the scoring when he was quickest to meet a right-wing free-kick from Messi.