Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Lionel Messi showed off his unparalleled balance and control when scoring the first La Liga goal of 2019 during Barcelona's win against Getafe CF.
Messi pocketed the score in the 20th minute of the 2-1 win on Sunday at Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Getafe, Spain. The La Liga affair was scoreless until Messi broke through with the precise sequence. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was hovering near the box on the play when he tracked down a chipped feed from Jordi Alba.
The ball was headed back by the Getafe defense and was about to bounce between two defenders and Getafe keeper David Soria before Messi brought out his magic wand. The star striker tapped the ball between the crowd of three and maintained his balance through contact. He regained control of the ball just before it was about to go out of bounds.
He then tapped the ball into he net with his left boot.
Fellow striker Luis Suarez put Barcelona up 2-0 in the 39th minute. Messi sent in a free kick at the start of that sequence, but it was denied by the Getafe defense. The ball bounced outside of the box, where Suarez was waiting for a powerful volley. He ripped a shot into the right side of the net.
Vitorino Antunes played a vital role in finally getting the home squad on the scoreboard. The Portuguese defender played in a wonderful bent cross toward the far post in the 43rd minute. Angel Rodriguez tapped the feed back toward the near post, where Jaime Mata tapped it in to cut the Barcelona lead in half.
"We knew the conditions that we were going to face here," Suarez told FCBarcelona.com. "But we were up to the challenge. It was a tough game. We had an opposition but we didn't create that much danger. Three points is the most important thing."
Barcelona battles Levante in Copa del Rey play at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia in Valencia, Spain.