La Liga Roundup: Raphinha stars as Barcelona beats Getafe to move into second place

Barcelona's Joao Felix celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Getafe at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Joan Monfort/AP)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Raphinha made the most of starting again for Barcelona by scoring one goal and playing a part in two more to lead a 4-0 rout of Getafe on Saturday.

Barcelona’s biggest win since September saw it move past Girona and provisionally claim second place in the Spanish league.

Raphinha opened the scoring in the 20th minute at Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium. The Brazil winger then participated in passing moves to help João Félix and Frenkie de Jong add goals in the 53rd and 61st. Substitute Fermin López rounded it off with a goal in stoppage time.

Leader Real Madrid is five points clear of Barcelona before it hosts Sevilla on Sunday. Girona, which fell into third place, is one point adrift of Barcelona before playing Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

Barcelona had been struggling at its stadium with only one win in its previous three home games, including a 5-3 debacle to Villarreal that prompted coach Xavi Hernández to announce he would not see out the final year of his contract next season.

But after recent stumbles by Girona, the biggest of the two Catalan clubs finds itself in position to at least become Madrid’s closest chaser with a third of the season remaining.

Raphinha, a key part of Barcelona’s costly rebuild two summers ago, was injured earlier this season and lost his spot in the starting 11 when teenager Lamine Yamal broke out as the team’s next great hope.

“I am especially happy because I was having fewer minutes since coming back from injury, but the most important thing is the win that keeps us alive in the league,” Raphinha said. “It is a privilege to compete with Lamine … Watching Lamine play so well makes me play better. And I am sure that he feels the same way.”

Raphinha led Barcelona’s attack with his speed down the right side that repeatedly beat Getafe’s high back line.

Raphinha latched onto a long ball by Jules Koundé and slotted a left-footed shot inside the far post to put the hosts ahead.

He had another good chance to score on the break in the 40th, but he fired too high with only the ‘keeper to beat.

Getafe threatened to level early in the second half when Luis Milla’s long strike hit the post after goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen got a touch.

But Barcelona again broke Getafe’s pressure when Andreas Christensen charged from his spot as holding midfielder to receive a through ball by Raphinha that played him clear on the right flank. Christensen squared the ball for Felix to finish off.

Raphinha helped make it three when he drew goalkeeper David Soria off the line and laid off for De Jong. De Jong then assisted López for his goal.

Getafe stayed in 10th place.

“We insisted on playing with a high back line, but we didn’t execute well at any point,” Getafe coach José Bordalás said about his team’s worst loss of the season. “We even tried moving players into different positions to try to improve, but my team was never itself and never comfortable. We have to forget this game and just move on.”


Luka Romero scored his first goals since joining Almeria on loan from AC Milan last month to help limit Atletico Madrid to a 2-2 draw.

Romero cancelled out the opener by Ángel Correa with a long strike in the 27th. Atletico’s Rodrigo de Paul put the visitors ahead before the 19-year-old Romero struck again in the 64th.

The draw at bottom side Almeria left Atletico in fourth place but just three points ahead of Athletic Bilbao.

Also, Matija Nastasic’s 88th-minute equalizer gave Mallorca a 1-1 draw at Alaves.

Valencia’s game at Granada was postponed after the visiting team requested not to play in the aftermath of a deadly fire in the eastern city of Valencia on Thursday.

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