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Late Paulinho goal keeps Barcelona perfect in Spain

MADRID (AP) Paulinho scored his first goal for Barcelona late in the second half of a 2-1 win over Getafe, upholding the club’s perfect start to the Spanish league on Saturday.

Barcelona’s fourth straight win opened a three-point lead over Real Sociedad, the only other team which entered the weekend with a perfect record. Real Sociedad hosts defending champion Real Madrid on Sunday.

Paulinho netted the winner after fighting off a defender inside the area and firing a right-footed cross shot into the far corner.

Getafe led through Japanese midfielder Gaku Shibasaki just before halftime.

Denis Suarez equalized in the second half.

Barcelona won the match but lost Ousmane Dembele, its biggest offseason signing, midway through the first half because of an apparent muscle injury.

A former Tottenham player who was playing in China last season, Paulinho was one of the few players signed by Barcelona in the offseason. The club paid 40 million euros to attract the Brazil midfielder and was criticized by many for spending so much on him.

Atletico Madrid, seven points off the lead, hosts Malaga later Saturday in its first match at the new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

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