Abidal honored as Barcelona cut Real Madrid's lead to one point

Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Xavi Hernandez after scoring the opener in the Nou Camp.

Story highlights

  • Barcelona beat Getafe 4-0 in the Nou Camp in La Liga match
  • Reigning champions close to within a point of Real Madrid at top
  • Alexis Sanchez scores twice for Barcelona with Lionel Messi also on target
  • Barcelona star Eric Abidal undergoing liver transplant as match takes place

Barcelona notched up the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 4-0 home win over Getafe as Alexis Sanchez scored twice on the day that the Spanish club's defender Eric Abidal had a liver transplant.

Tuesday's victory left the defending champions a single point behind their archrivals, who face a testing derby match at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

It was Barcelona's 10th straight league win, and put Josep Guardiola equal second on the club's all-time La Liga victories list with 112 as coach, matching Frank Rijkaard.

Johan Cruyff has the record of 183 wins from 306 games as coach, but Guardiola has the highest winning percentage of 76.8% from 146 league outings, losing only 10 times in four seasons.

Guardiola dedicated the victory to Abidal, who had his surgery about a year after having a tumor removed from the same organ..

"We're very pleased to be able to dedicate this victory to Abidal and his cousin Gerard. It's a special day because we knew that he was in surgery," Guardiola said.

"We're very pleased because it's never easy against such a defensive team. We found our patience, and we scored fairly early, we created goalscoring chances ... we controlled the match. It's very difficult to attack a team that defends with nine players."

Sanchez opened the scoring in the 13th minute after being put through by Lionel Messi.

Argentina star Messi got on the scoresheet himself just before halftime with Chile forward Sanchez adding his second in the 73rd minute, while Pedro rounded off the scoring a minute later to complete the rout.

Supporters in the Nou Camp paid a special tribute to the 32-year-old Abidal in the 22nd minute of the match -- the same number as his squad shirt.

Barcelona announced on March 15 that Abidal would have a liver transplant "in the coming weeks."

Last year he made a remarkable recovery from his cancer removal and helped Barcelona lift the European Champions League trophy after beating Manchester United in the final.

The France international had made 20 appearances for Barcelona this season before news emerged of his impending operation.

In Tuesday's other action, Osasuna consolidated sixth place with a 2-0 win over Espanyol that lifted the Pamplona-based club four points clear of their opponents and Atletico.

Real Sociedad drew 1-1 at home to Real Betis, a result which left both teams comfortably clear of the relegation zone.

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