Barcelona opened up a 12 point advantage at the top of La Liga courtesy of a 6-1 victory over Getafe at the Camp Nou.
Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi put the hosts into a two goal advantage inside the opening quarter of an hour but the visitors held out to half-time despite incessant pressure.
David Villa made it three just shy of the hour mark before Cristian Tello made it four moments after entering the fray.
Second-half substitute Álvaro Vázquez scored a consolation for the side from Madrid before late goals from Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique made it an utter thrashing.
Getafe visited the table toppers in the throes of a defensive crisis with defender Rafa and goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya suspended while Juan Valera missed out due to a back problem.
For Barca, an ankle complaint ruled Xavi out but more pressing for Jordi Roura will have been the possibility of fatigue following Spain’s midweek friendly against Uruguay in Qatar which featured nine Barca players.
But with Andres Iniesta in imperious form, the hosts dispelled any fears of a lethargic post-international performance with a high-tempo, breathless opening that bewitched Luis García Plaza’s re-jigged defence, and the hosts had a couple of sights of goal before Alexis struck his first of the season with six minutes gone.
Iniesta matched a break from the flank by the Chilean international with a majestic through-ball that took three Getafe defenders out and glided into the path of the run to allow the former Udinese man to slide the ball past Jordi Codina with his second touch.
Despite having been the focal point of all his side’s early play, Iniesta was still afforded the time and space to pick out the run of Thiago Alcântara with the half 13 minutes old. Such was the weight of the ball from Iniesta, Thiago was able to lay a first-time pass into the path of Messi who drilled an effort past Codina to double his side’s advantage.
With Getafe set up in a 4-4-2 formation, the hosts had the run of the game and they could have been three goals up just shy of the half hour mark but Messi volleyed against the post from Alexis’ centre as the side from Madrid just about made it to half time without further concession.
The hosts were forced into a change at half-time as Adriano came off injured but it had little impact on Barca’s dominance. The only surprise was that it took until the 58th minute to reconfirm their dominance when Villa latched onto a Jordi Alba ball before tucking the ball past the advancing Codina.
Getafe were reduced to the odd foray forward but they failed to threaten the goal of Victor Valdes as the hosts continued in the ascendancy. Tello, a second half substitute for Alexis, made it four on 79 minutes with a smart finish from outside the box having received a square ball from Messi.
With Carlos Puyol having left the field injured, the visitors grabbed a consolation courtesy of a loose Alba header that Vázquez reacted quickest to and slotted past Valdes with 83 on the clock to reduce the arrears.
But Iniesta, who was in imperious form throughout, seized on a loose challenge in the box to make it five in the 90th minute before Pique rolled into an empty net courtesy of a Thiago chest lay-off in the penultimate minute of the game.
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- Andres Iniesta
- Lionel Messi