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La Liga: Granada CF 1-3 FC Barcelona: Match Review

A recap of Barcelona's 3-1 La Liga victory over Granada, as Luis Suarez inspired the Blaugrana to a crucial win at the Nuevo Los Carmenes

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

FC Barcelona’s quality shone through on Saturday afternoon in Andalusia, as a less-than vintage Blaugrana performance still produced a valuable three points, as Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitić inspired Barça to a crucial win over Granada CF. The Croatian midfielder grabbed the opener in the first-half and turned creator in the second to setup Luis Suarez for the second and play a part in the third, assisted by Suarez and scored by Lionel Messi after a Fran Rico penalty had given the hosts a brief glimmer of hope.






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Compared to last weekend’s defeat against Malaga CF, Luis Enrique made four changes to his starting line-up, only one of which was forced through Gerard Piqué’s suspension. The tactical decisions therefore were to drop Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta and Rafinha Alcântara to the bench, with Jeremy Mathieu, Marc Bartra, Ivan Rakitić and Xavi Hernández all rotating in. That of course meant a midfield role for Javier Mascherano, while Neymar also started in spite of the calls asking for the Brazilian to be rested.

Clearly, Luis Enrique was taking this match very seriously indeed and believed that he needed his best players on the field to break down one of the league’s most deceptively impressive home defenses. Would the Blaugrana be able to improve upon last weekend’s poor performance, or would Granada deal Barça’s title hopes another significant blow?


The match started in rather disjointed fashion on a bright afternoon in Andalusia, as less than a minute had passed before Dani Alves collided with Javi Marquez. The Brazilian got to the ball first, but was caught not once but twice by the Spanish midfielder – first with a high boot to the groin/waist area and second with hand to the face. With a cut on the bridge of his nose to show for his troubles, Alves received some treatment and was ultimately able to carry on, while Marquez was deservedly shown a yellow card.

While that incident certainly excused a slow start, it doesn’t really explain why Barça were still looking relatively pedestrian after a quarter of an hour. The only difference between this game and the loss to Malaga was that we hadn’t conceded, because we were experiencing the same challenges with creating chances and generally playing any kind of "good football".

However, in time we grew into the match and there were signs of life; Suarez and Neymar were both making good runs behind the Granada defense only to be denied a chance on goal by the offside flag. Fractions of an inch: that’s all that was in it, and in time Barça were going to get one right.

As it turned out, they didn’t have to wait too long either. Mere minutes after Neymar was caught offside, Jordi Alba’s lofted pass over the top of the Granada backline was perfectly timed and superbly weighted for the run of Luis Suarez. Whether the Uruguayan was going for goal or not, his effort ended up well off-target but Barça benefitted from a touch of fotune. Granada tried to clear the danger, but in doing so made a mistake and gifted a chance to Ivan Rakitić.

The Croatian had an open goal at his mercy and he made no mistake, firing the ball low into the back of the net to hand Barcelona the lead. All those fears, all those nerves – gone with the swing of a boot. Rakitić raced to the bench to celebrate with Marc-André ter Stegen and it was all smiles for FC Barcelona.

In spite of that opener, Barça really didn’t improve an awful lot with their lead; Leo Messi had been somewhat quiet in comparison to Tuesday, but combining with Ivan Rakitić to great effect he had a chance on goal – controlling a difficult cross before firing a volley towards net. It was a sumptuous piece of play from our Argentine magician, but his shot flew agonisingly over the crossbar.

At the other end, Marc Bartra survived a contentious penalty appeal for his challenge on Jhon Cordoba before Claudio Bravo was called into action for the first time to make a spectacular save and keep Barça’s lead intact. Javi Marquez was the man he denied, as the Catalan midfielder’s fierce, accurate effort was palmed around the post by the Chilean keeper.

At half-time it was clear that there was room for improvement for FC Barcelona, but with a one-goal lead at least they were doing enough.


As the second-half began however, Granada were very much still in with a chance of securing a result. They were looking somewhat dangerous on the counter-attack and after a mistake from Jeremy Mathieu, Lass Bangoura had a chance to run at the Barça defense. He got past Alves with relative ease and his cross was dangerous, teasing Jhon Cordoba to make a move – but before he could, Bravo got there first. His intervention was crucial and within moments, Barça were up at the other end and doubling their lead.

Luis Suarez had been involved in the opener, scored by Ivan Rakitić and this time, the roles were reversed. The Uruguayan forward played a one-two with Rakitić, and the return pass from the Croatian was simply phenomenal. The Granada defense had been split and Suarez held his own against the challenges to slot the ball past Oier Olazábal and into the back of the net.

That’s how you start a half – Barcelona had doubled their advantage and surely won the three points, right? Wrong. Within minutes, Granada grabbed themselves a lifeline. Lass Bangoura was involved again, skipping past the challenge of Dani Alves before jinking past Marc Bartra. The Catalan defender left out a leg and Bangoura was brought down – the referee had no choice. He had to point to the spot.

Fran Rico stepped up and perhaps showed Lionel Messi how it’s done with a superb penalty, burying his shot into the corner of the net. Bravo had no chance, and suddenly, Granada were back in the game.

How would Barcelona respond? Well, in Neymar’s case he would pick up a yellow card. Clearly, the Brazilian needs a rest – and that’s what he will get now that he has picked up his fifth yellow card of the season. Jeremy Mathieu also picked up a yellow and survived an appeal for a second too after he clumsily collided with Lass Bangoura.

This match really was in the balance, and Lucho made his first change in an attempt to wrap up the three points: off went Xavi, on came Rafinha and therefore Lionel Messi would captain the side for the final 25 minutes. Would he lead by example as well and end the game as a contest by scoring Barça’s third of the evening?

Yes. Yes he would.

It was a gift of a goal as well as Luis Suarez again turned creator. Ivan Rakitić sprung the offside trap with another jaw-dropping pass to find Suarez who rounded Oier, and selflessly squared the ball in front of an open goal for Messi to apply the finish. Game over, Barça had finally put this game to bed.

Cue more changes from Enrique; Busquets replaced the cautioned Jeremy Mathieu with about a quarter of an hour to play while Man of the Match, Luis Suarez was also withdrawn for Pedro. Barça moved into conservation mode – playing out the remainder of the match without much note, conserving their energy for the all-important Copa del Rey semi-final clash coming up in midweek against Villarreal CF.

Until then, Visca el Barça!

Roll Call Info
Total comments 396
Total commenters 41
Commenter list Abdul95, Abohabiba, Anders Thomassen, AngelCul1, AraibKarim, Arnau22S, Barca Boy, BarcaLifer, CoolCulé, Daniel_Cule_13, Delano Heerkens, FCB_Z8, Hazara fc, Inder Methil, JordiBalboa, M. Elzi, Navz, Omniscius, PG9, Piquénbauer, Ragnar_Lothbrok, Rajesh1101s, Som-i-Serem, Swn.Culé, Uncharted_Almo, Willis1984, craig00000, cule-since-1992, feeya7, halsey, hobo_barca, jithen, levix, llamas612, luck-ycoltsfan19, pranaydhone, shirishstha, shubham2806, sikandar.ahmadi, sudama.baraily, uday kakoti
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Anders Thomassen 65
2 craig00000 45
3 Abohabiba 29
4 luck-ycoltsfan19 26
5 Hazara fc 25
6 shubham2806 25
7 Delano Heerkens 21
8 Barca Boy 19
9 Som-i-Serem 17
10 Uncharted_Almo 16
11 Willis1984 11
12 levix 7
13 jithen 7
14 shirishstha 6
15 halsey 6
16 Abdul95 6
17 M. Elzi 5
18 Inder Methil 5
19 JordiBalboa 4
20 AngelCul1 4
21 feeya7 4
22 Swn.Culé 4
23 BarcaLifer 4
24 cule-since-1992 4
25 pranaydhone 4
26 Ragnar_Lothbrok 3
27 PG9 3
28 AraibKarim 2
29 FCB_Z8 2
30 llamas612 2
31 uday kakoti 2
32 Arnau22S 2
33 Rajesh1101s 2
34 Daniel_Cule_13 2
35 sudama.baraily 1
36 Omniscius 1
37 hobo_barca 1
38 Navz 1
39 sikandar.ahmadi 1
40 CoolCulé 1
41 Piquénbauer 1

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