Barcelona got the ball rolling to kickstart their February. The Catalans smiled as they went into the game against a team they thrashed a month ago.
Lionel Messi, as usual, was in the mood. The Argentine had two occasions early on. He started by dancing in the Andalusian defence, but Aarón got in the way. Aarón then denied Messi again, this time from a perfect free-kick.
A first 30 minutes of stability went south when Samuel Umtiti, Sergio Busquets and Antoine Griezmann all made mistakes near the penalty area. The French defender lost the ball to Alberto Soro. Soro’s cross was perfect, and Kenedy put his side in front.
The visitors had to feel unlucky as it was probably one of Barça’s best performances of the season. The giants dominated the whole half and should have scored once or twice.
Again, the second half could not have started in a worse way. Barcelona conceded yet another early goal as Griezmann lost the ball and the following clearance landed straight on Roberto Soldado’s feet. Umtiti, again, failed to catch up with the former Valencia striker and Granada doubled their lead.
Messi tried. The captain had yet another great shot saved by Aarón. He also sent Francisco Trincão through, but the Portuguese winger could only hit the crossbar. The desperation could be felt as Griezmann tried an overhead kick from close range, but the Granada keeper had a world-class performance. The crossbar also had another role to play as Dembélé hit in the last instants.
Thankfully for the Blaugranas, Messi found Griezmann who score from an unlikely range. The keeper helped the ball on its way. Messi thought he had equalised, but the post denied him in the 90th minute. Luckily for the Catalans, Messi’s magic was apparent as he sent a ball towards Griezmann who passed it to Jordi Alba with his head. The left-back dramatically equalised for his side.
Barça did not stop after their exhilarating end to the second half. Aarón kept his superb form with two saves early in extra-time. Another Messi shot ended in the Spaniard’s path while Braithwaite’s header also ended in Aarón’s hands.
One man was too good. Giezmann. Again, another goal from the Frenchman. After the Granada keeper’s superb saves, Griezmann lept above everyone else and put his side in front. Just after the goal, Dest fouled Carlos Neva in the box, and Granada got a penalty. Fede Vico equalised for the locals.
Barça got in front once again in extra-time. Messi got his umpteenth shot saved by Aarónz, but Frenkie de Jong followed well to put Barça in front for a second time.
The visitors doubled their lead through an insane Alba volley. Dest drilled in the Granada defence, found Messi who shot on the keeper. Dembélé volleyed the ball towards Griezmann who sent the most sumptuous pass towards Alba whose volley was the most beautiful goal of the game.