Granada overturned Lionel Messi’s first half strike to beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou on Thursday evening, leaving La Blaugrana third in La Liga and two points off leaders Atletico Madrid.
For all their possession, Barcelona were slow to create clear-cut chances throughout the first period but managed to break the deadlock after 24 minutes. Messi and Antoine Griezmann linked up sensationally in and around the penalty area before the Argentine expertly dispatched the ball into Aaron’s bottom corner from a tight angle.
La Blaugrana’s lack of clinical finishing cost them after the interval. Granada found an equaliser with 63 minutes on the clock as Oscar Mingueza failed to cut out Luis Suarez’s through ball, allowing Darwin Machis to latch onto it and calmly slot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Ronald Koeman let his frustrations spill over and was shown a red card for dissent after Granada’s strike, and things soon went from bad to worse. Substitute Jorge Molina took advantage of some shocking marking in the box to clinically head in Quini’s cross and make it 2-1 to the visitors in the 79th minute.
Despite attacking substitutions, the hosts couldn’t get a second and eventually fell to a shock 2-1 defeat, passing up the chance to go top in La Liga ahead of Atletico, who they meet in a crunch clash on 8 May. Now, let’s see how the Barça players rated.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 5/10 – Will be bitterly disappointed after conceding two but wasn’t exactly helped by the defending.
Oscar Mingueza (CB) – 5/10 – Was good on the ball and barely had anything to do defensively but made a fatal mistake as Suarez’s ball went through him in the build up to Granada’s equaliser – was hooked off almost immediately after.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 6/10 – Stayed tight to Granada’s forwards throughout and showed good experience to make six interventions.
Samuel Umtiti (CB) – 5/10 – Struggled when faced with runners in behind but stayed firm for the most part, winning several aerial battles and covering Alba well. At fault for the winner, however, as he left Molina unoccupied in front of goal.
Sergi Roberto (RWB) – 7/10 – Got up the right well and utilised possession intelligently and effectively to pose a threat. Came close to notching a goal himself, putting a volley narrowly over the bar in the second half.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 8/10 – Picked out great positions in advanced areas and gave the Granada backline a lot to think about. Crucially pinned central defenders back to create space for the roaming strikers, all while completing six key passes.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 7/10 – Held midfield really aggressively, hoovering up any loose balls deep inside Granada’s half, and was integral to sustaining the pressure. Wasn’t quick enough to stifle the counter attacks that led to Granada’s goals, though.
Ilaix Moriba (CM) – 6/10 – Took balls in his stride and was good at driving upfield with possession, but was a little wasteful with his final pass. Added a great deal of physicality, however, making four ball recoveries.
Jordi Alba (LWB) – 5/10 – Couldn’t really get into the game and was sloppy with the ball, failing to make even one key pass.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 8/10 – Demonstrated some excellent movement to get in behind as well as create from deep, and was (obviously) the main threat throughout. Got himself an outstanding 26th La Liga goal of the campaign but couldn’t inspire his side to victory.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – 8/10 – Sublime work rate and brilliant positional play all game to find pockets and link up with his colleagues – notably providing an exceptional assist for his captain’s goal.
Ousmane Dembele (LW) – 6/10
Pedri (CM) – 6/10
Francisco Trincao (RW) – N/A