Barcelona endured a frustrating evening in their La Liga season opener with a 0-0 draw in a feisty affair at Getafe marked by several bookings and three red cards on Sunday, including the dismissal of visiting manager Xavi Hernandez.
Champions Barca were dominating the match early on under the scorching heat of south Madrid, with Brazil winger Raphinha the main threat to the home side’s defence by running the right channel and creating several opportunities.
He almost helped the visitors open the scoring in the 36th minute when goalkeeper David Soria blocked his close-range strike back onto a team mate and the ball bounced just wide.
But Raphinha lost his cool and was sent off in the 42nd minute for elbowing Gaston Alvarez in the head off the ball.
Getafe were then also reduced to 10 men in the 57th minute after Jaime Mata’s fierce challenge on Ronald Araujo earned him a second yellow card leaving the match wide open.
Last season’s La Liga top scorer Robert Lewandowski came closest for Barcelona with a close-range header which Alvarez managed to clear off the line in the 63rd minute.
Barca manager Xavi was also shown a red card in the 71st minute after complaining about a decision.
There was more controversy in added time when referee Cesar Soto Grado did not award what looked like a penalty for a foul on Araujo and after being asked by VAR to check the pitchside monitor signalled a handball in the build-up.
After added time nearing 20 minutes and much complaining, Barca had to settle for a point. The last time they managed to win a La Liga game at Coliseum Alfonso Perez was in 2019. Since then they have had three 0-0 draws and a 1-0 defeat at Getafe.
“The referee is the one who allowed it escalate that far, it is what it is,” a visibly frustrated Xavi told DAZN.
“I told him that he was allowing too many (fouls) and that’s why he kicked me out. And I don’t see a handball in the last play,” he added referring to the VAR check that ruled out a possible penalty.
“It is also a shame that he gave 20 minutes in added time. We are making fools of ourselves, it’s ridiculous.”
“Last year we started the same way and look how we ended up (as champions). I’m happy because we played well with 10-men … We had chances but we didn’t manage to take advantage of them.”
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