The summit beckoned Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona. The Spanish giants had completely turned their season around midway through it and were hoping to go top of LaLiga for the first time. However, Diego Martinez’s Granada had other ideas.
A Lionel Messi goal wasn’t enough to hand Barcelona the win against Granada. The Blaugrana were stunned by their opponents, who came from behind to beat them on the night. As a result, the Spanish giants missed the opportunity to leapfrog Atletico Madrid at the top of the table. They must now beat the Rojiblancos in a head-to-head clash on May 8 if they want to win the league this season.
Messi put Barcelona ahead on the night in the 23rd minute. The Argentine scored his 26th league goal of the season after playing a one-two with Antoine Griezmann. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had the chance to put his side two goals up in the 36th minute. However, he was denied by Granada goalkeeper Aaron Escandell on that occasion. Nevertheless, Barcelona went into the break on top – both in the match and in the league.
Barcelona enjoyed a whopping 82 per cent possession in this match. They had 16 shots, out of which four were on target, but only one of those found its way past Escandell. In contrast, Granada barely took hold of the ball and barely managed to shoot at the opposition goal. Diego Martinez’s side had two shots on target for the entirety of the match. Remarkably, both those shots ended up in the back of the net.
The first blow to Barcelona’s title hopes arrived in the 63rd minute when Darwin Machis took advantage of a defensive lapse to level the match. The youngster Oscar Mingueza failed to deal with a loose ball, allowing the forward to score the equalizer.
Things went from bad to worse for the Blaugrana. First, they had their coach sent off for an altercation on the touchline. They then conceded again in the 79th minute, when Jorge Molina rose highest to meet an Aaron Martin delivery. Granada had turned the game around and would hold onto the lead until full-time.
As a consequence of their loss, Barcelona remain third in the league, albeit now with the same number of matches played as everyone around them.