Barcelona took on Granada in their fifth league game of the season at Camp Nou. The Catalans stood tenth in the League standings ahead of the clash, and their opponents 14th. The visitors had not won a single game in the season leading into the clash, and were very close to their first win tonight.
Barcelona put up another poor display at home, with very few real chances in the game. The team looked to cross any ball to create a chance, and the desperation for options in attack was evident.
Following this draw, however, Koeman falls under even heavier pressure as Barcelona slip down the ladder.
The match started in a dramatic fashion as Granada scored in just the second minute of play. Barcelona were still getting into their groove when Dominguez Duarte stunned the Camp Nou. The Portuguese player calmly found himself at the end of the cross and headed the ball into the open net to give Granada the early lead.
The opening minutes drama did not end there, as the fifth minute brought an additional dose. Barcelona claimed a penalty in the fifth minute when their player was taken down by a Granada player in the box. However, the referee waved play on and the request was denied.
Eleven minutes into the game, the visitors got very close to doubling their lead when Jorge Molina was fed a stunning cross. His shot however was a whisker too high and the Catalans held on.
Barcelona continued their efforts to create their equaliser over the next ten minutes, but Diego Martinez’s side held their nerve. Sergino Dest put in a wonderful cross that couldn’t be utilised. The resultant corner brought the hosts painfully close to the equaliser when Sergi Roberto floated the ball over Luis Maximiano but hit the crossbar.
The visitors then took over the tempo for a brief while creating a couple of openings around the 20th minute. A rapid counter in the 23rd minute was promising for Koeman’s side, but Memphis Depay fancied a shot from far out and failed to hit the target.
Yan Eteki of Granada went down with a muscular injury in the 25th minute and Diego Martinez seemed certain to replace him. However, the midfielder returned minutes later, just to go down again. Meanwhile, Ronald Araujo too signalled his back discomfort to the bench and Oscar Mingueza began warming up.
Barcelona slowly improved their possession over the next ten minutes. The hosts strung more passes together, linked up well, and threatened to create chances. By the 39ty minute, the Catalans had 77% of the possession.
In the 42nd minute, Ronald Koeman was forced to make a change as Alejandro Balde was unable to continue through injury. Oscar Mingueza came on for his fellow La Masia comrade. Just moments later, Granada’s Monchu had a spectacular chance to score the second goal of the night. Marc Andre ter Stegen did phenomenally to keep it out.
It was at the 45th minute that Koeman’s side finally turned on the heat. The chain of chances started with a thunderous header by Ronald Araujo at the penalty spot. However, Maximiank made a sensational save to deny the Uruguayan.
The series of corners that followed had Cules biting their fingernails. Another header from Araujo went wide, before Sergio Busquets slammed one towards the face of goal. Once again, the Granada goalkeeper was up for the task and denied the Barcelona captain.
Both managers made halftime changes to their sides. Ronald Koeman brought on Luuk de Jong for Sergi Roberto and Diego Martinez replaced Sergio Escudero with Carlos Neva.
Barcelona were once again silent in the opening ten minutes of the second half. The buildup was promising, but no threats on goal. Ronald Araujo once again had a spectacular chace in the 57th minute. His header was just wide of the right post.
Two minutes later, Depay had a one on one chance against Maximiano. However, his shot was straight at the goalkeeper and comfortably changed. Gavi replaced Coutinho at the hour mark, to put an end to the Brazilian’s silent outing.
Granada made two changes in the 67th minute as Luis Suarez and Maxime Gonalons came on. Yusuf Demir was taken down by Gonalons a minute later, and Barcelona won a freekick just outside the box. There were calls for handball as Depay’s freekick slammed into the wall, but was quickly denied by the referee.
Koeman made his next two changes with Riqui Puig coming in for Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique coming on to replace Yusuf Demir in attack as a center-forward.
The 79th minute brought with it a wonderful chance off Depay’s corner. The delivery was perfect and Luuk de Jong looked set to score his first goal for the Catalans. He however headed it too high. Another header from Araujo seconds later too was comfortably saved by Maximiliano.
As of minute 83, Barcelona had Luuk de Jong, Pique, and Araujo as strikers, a clear indication of desperation and lack of options. Koeman was booked for protesting a little while later as Barcelona continued their desperate hunt for redemption.
Drama spewed in the Granada box 3 minutes from the final minute when Araujo was brought down. The fight turned nasty, and a chain of bookings proceeded including a yellow for the Uruguayan.
The Uruguayan was Barcelona’s best player by far and got his reward in the 90th minute. Pique played the ball to Gavi and the 17-year-old delivered a perfect assist that Araujo pumped into the back of the net. The equaliser brought the Camp Nou back to life.
Four minutes were added on. Ronald Araujo continued his staggering night as he dribbled on the right-wing and drove in a wonderful pass to Pique who couldn’t finish it. Two further minutes were added after some confusion on the field.
Granada won a free kick just outside the box two minutes from time. Once again, it was Araujo who cleared the ball. The Uruguayan was everywhere, defense, attack, and midfield. That brought an end to the game.
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