Barca's title defense hit by 2-2 draw with Getafe
By Joseph Wilson ,AP
May 5, 2014, 12:12 am TWN
BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona conceded a second goal to Getafe forward Angel Lafita in injury time to stumble to a deflating 2-2 draw at home on Saturday, dealing a major blow to its hopes of repeating as Spanish league champion.
Lionel Messi volleyed in Dani Alves' pass for his 28th league goal this season in the 23rd minute, only for Lafita to level after a rare attack for Getafe in the 37th.
Substitute Cesc Fabregas appeared to put Barcelona back on track when he initiated a move that ended with Alexis Sanchez scoring in the 67th.
But Barcelona's brittle defense again betrayed it in the final moments when Lafita charged in to head home Jaime Gavilan's cross and grab a draw that silenced the Camp Nou.
Out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey, Barcelona's chances of defending its domestic crown are fading fast. The Catalan club was left three points behind Atletico Madrid before the leader visits Levante on Sunday.
There are two more rounds after this weekend. Real Madrid trails Atletico by six points but has a game in hand. Despite still being mathematically alive, Barcelona appears to have given up the title.
"This hasn't been a good season, nor is this the way we wanted it to end," Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said. "The responsibility lies with the manager. Our expectation was to stay in it as long as we could. We did so until today. If we haven't been able to beat a team fighting to stay up, then we don't deserve to be champions."
Barcelona has been sub-par in the second half of the season. After dropping just four points through the first 18 league games under Martino, it has dropped 18 points in the last 18 rounds.