Barcelona’s title hopes were dealt another debilitating blow, as they stuttered to a 2-2 draw at home to Getafe.
Barcelona took the lead twice through Messi and Sanchez, but Getafe did their Madrid neighbours a favour by bagging a stoppage time equaliser through Lafita.
The away side looked resolute in the opening exchanges. The well worked passages of play Barcelona managed to put together were quickly put to a stop by a determined Getafe rearguard.
But they could only hold out for 22 minutes before the home side found the net, courtesy of talismanic their front man Messi.
Barcelona were finally able to stretch the Getafe defence, and Dani Alves’ low pass expertly picked out the Argentine, who arrived unmarked in the area and guided the ball past Cesar.
Messi, who by all accounts is having a poor season, put away his 41st goal of the season and his 28th in La Liga.
It is fairly normal for the floodgates to swing wide open one Barcelona open the scoring. Barcelona hit five past Getafe in the corresponding fixture in December, with Pedro getting three, and he nearly double their lead, breezing past Valera, and cutting in, only to have his shot block yards from goal.
Getafe sparked back into life and 15 minutes after going behind, they found a reply through Lafita. Pablo Sarabia delivered a cleverly worked free-kick saw which saw him flick the ball in the air to Lafita, who took the ball on his chest, swiveled, and fired low past a despairing Pinto.
The controversial goal sparked protests from the Barcelona players who felt goalscorer Lafita handled the ball in the run up to the goal.
Barcelona started the second half very much in the same manner as they did the first, camped in the Getafe half searching for a way through a stubborn back four.
The home side got closer with every attempt, and were denied by the crossbar, after Alves’ cross found the head of Alexis Sanchez. It was the fifth time that Sanchez has hit the woodwork this season and he may have felt that his luck was out.
Fabregas entered the fray as the home side looked to turn the screw and bag a second, and Barcelona’s relentless pressure finally told as Sanchez, who grabbed his 18th league goal this season.
The Chilean was first to react to Pedro’s blocked shot and fired low fast the idle Cesar.
Getafe had very few chances to put themselves back in the game, and Pablo Sarabia seemed to have squandered to best of them.
Seemingly with goal at his mercy after the ball was cut back by Jamie Gavilán, the midfielder fired straight into the chest of Pinto, who graciously clutched ball.
Song and Tello entered the fray, as the match was seemingly reaching its conclusion. But as the clock hit 90 minutes, the away side went in search one final opportunity , and completely silenced the Camp Nou crowd with a 92nd minute equaliser.
Gavilan drove down the left hand side, and his deep cross found the on-rushing Lafita, who headed in his second goal of the match and broke Barcelona hearts.
Barcalona are still three points away from Atletico Madrid and three ahead of Real Madrid, who are yet to play their two games in hand.
Getafe still hang precariously close to the relegation zone, sitting three points off Almeria and four from Real Valladolid, who still have a game in have a game in hand on the teams around them.
Everything seemed to point to a Barcelona win.Messi looked closer and closer to his best, as he danced through the Getafe defence on numerous occasions, and they looked potent with Sanchez and Pedro who are usually dropped to incorporate Neymar into the starting line-up. However their defence has once again proved to be their Achilles heel, and ensures a trophy-less season for the first time in 10 years.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.