Soccer

Granada vs. Barcelona score: Messi and Griezmann score in easy win as the Blaugrana hit their stride

Barcelona extended their win streak to three  on Saturday with a 0-3 win against Granada in Los Carmenes. Barcelona were coming off a 3-2 win on the road against Athletic Club Bilbao, where they had to come from behind, but looked far more dominant in today’s match thanks to a stellar performance from Lionel Messi.

Manager Ronald Koeman rolled his team out in a back four against the hosts, making only one chance to the lineup. Óscar Mingueza slotted into the backline for the suspended Clément Lenglet. The attack and midfield remained unchanged with Messi lining up between Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé.

It was a promising start for Granada as the hosts attempted to get off on the right foot with a strong attempt from Puertas that tested Barca keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen in the opening 2 minutes. But only ten minutes later a long overdue goal from Griezmann dashed any hopes the underdogs might have had of making a game of it.

Sergio Busquetes did well to pick out a passing lane to feed the ball through to Griezmann who coolly slotted it into the back of net. The goal was initially ruled offside, but a deflection on the pass through allowed the goal to stand. 

Granada attempted to play their way back into the match, but were their own worst enemies as a poor turnover allowed Griezmann to set up Messi to extend the lead in the 35th minute. The Argentinian received the pass just outside the box with space to take some touches and create space for his left footed shot to curl past the keeper.

Messi would continue Barcelona’s onslaught with a third goal just before halftime as the Catalonians were awarded a free kick with the captain stepping up to take it. His low driving shot snuck past jumping defenders and a diving keeper for Barcelona’s third goal in the 43nd minute.

Barcelona would finish the first half outshooting Granada 7 to 4, having the majority of possession with 67% to the hosts’ 33% and while their expected goal total at the break was only 0.58 it was still well ahead of Granada’s anemic 0.12.

Second half cruise

Facing a three goal deficit, Granada would be forced to make adjustments to start the second half in an attempt to shake things up, cutting the days short of Carlos Neva, Angel Montoro Sanchez, and Roberto Soldado. The moves did little to inspire change however as Barcelona continued to run rampant, eventually leading to a fourth goal just past the hour mark.

Koeman would continue with his initial starting eleven to begin the second half, and Griezmann connected for Barcelona’s fourth goal on the day after Dembele chipped a cross into the box over two defenders to pick out Griezmann’s run in the box, with enough time for him to settle the ball before slotting into goal for Barcelona’s fourth goal in the 63rd minute.

The massive lead meant early days for several Barca players as substitutions began in the 65th minute with Messi exiting the game first, with De Jong, Pedri, Dembele and Dest to follow. 

The Catalonians would close out the game having expanded their possession 73% to Granada’s dismal 27% and outshooting the hosts 14 to 8. 

Notable Performances

Sergio Busquetes, Barcelona: The midfielder has impressed in his outings as of late, and provided the most touches of any midfielder in the first half. He wasn’t rewarded with the assist, but was responsible for setting up Griezmann on the opening goal. Rating: 8.5

Lionel Messi, Barcelona: Netted a brace today and has been in unreal form during Barcelona’s recent win streak. Scored in the run of play and on a free kick for the Catalonians. When he’s on, the team can look like its old unstoppable self.  Rating: 9

Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona: The Frenchman has had a rough go of it in front of goal as of late bu opened the goal scoring early for his team, set up Messi for the second, and scored Barcelona’s fourth goal. Hopefully it’s the beginning of a new streak for him. Rating: 9

Looking ahead

The dominant win means Barcelona now sits in third place on the league table, after having fought back and clawed their way into the top four. Games are still in play on Saturday, but for now it’s a narrow lead between the top three teams. Barcelona has a chance to build on their standing as they take on Elche on Jan. 24 after Supercopa and Copa del Rey matches.



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