May 16, 2021

LIVE: Barcelona vs Granada

47′ CLOSE! Nearly a second for Barca! Having turned provider for Messi’s opener, Griezmann tries his own luck on the turn, but his shot flashes wide of the right-hand post.

46′ Granada get the second half underway.

Messi missed a great chance to make it 2-0, and Barca will be looking to put the game to bed early in the second half and send themselves to the top of LaLiga heading into the weekend.

An entertaining first half comes to a close with Barca leading thanks to Messi’s 23rd-minute strike. The hosts are worthy of their lead, though Granada have threatened on occasion, mainly through Herrera and Soldado.

45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 1-0 GRANADA.

45′ Another fantastic run from De Jong gets Barca on the front foot. He finds Messi, who plays a crisp, first-time pass into Ilaix. The youngster just hesitated on the edge of the area, though, allowing Machis to get back.

N. Pérez

Yellow Card

Granada

43′ A booking for Perez who, having let Messi run past him, had little choice but to haul the Barca skipper back.

40′ Great defending from Umtiti, who shows fantastic recovery pace to skip across and deny Soldado. His slide tackle results in a deflection which wrong foots Ter Stegen, but the ball ends up safely in the side netting.

37′ Escandell is called into action again from the resulting corner, but Umtiti’s header was directed right down the goalkeeper’s throat.

36′ CHANCE! Well, for all the world that looked set to be 2-0! Messi beat Granada’s offside trap and took a brilliant touch to control a ball over the top. However, Escandell just manages to close the angle enough to get a touch on the Argentine’s shot.

35′ Well, the physios aren’t on the pitch just yet, but Quina is still down. He came off second best after a challenge from Pique. Eventually, he is back to his feet without having to receive medical attention.

34′ A Granada player – Quina – is down but there is little sympathy from the referee, or indeed Barca, who play on despite the visitors’ protestations. Finally, after around a minute, the official stops the play so that Quina can receive some treatment.

31′ Barca go short from a free-kick, causing havoc for Granada’s defence. Roberto gets down the right and tries to square it to a team-mate, but his pass is behind a glut of Barca players, and Granada escape unscathed.

29′ De Jong makes a great, surging run down the right and lays it off to the onrushing Messi. For once, his touch is just a bit too heavy, and the 33-year-old can’t get a shot off before a defender is across to block it.

27′ Messi has now been involved in 13 goals in six LaLiga appearances against Granada at Camp Nou (10 goals and three assists).

25′ CHANCE! Barca very nearly gifted Granada an immediate equaliser! Busquets was robbed of possession on the edge of his own box, but Herrera’s resulting shot was a poor one which trickled wide.

A. Griezmann

Assist

Barcelona

23′ Griezmann has really rediscovered his best form as of late and that was a fantastic bit of skill from the former Atletico Madrid star.

L. Messi

Goal

Barcelona

23′ GOAL! Barca lead, and who else would it be?! Messi nets for the 26th time in LaLiga this season, and it was a wonderful move. He played it into Griezmann, who turned clear of his marker and played a neat throughball into Messi’s path. The Argentine got his head down, and guided a brilliant finish across Escandell. It’s 1-0 Barca!

Soldado

Yellow Card

Granada

20′ Soldado collects the first booking of the match, having fouled Griezmann.

19′ SAVE! Barca get the first effort on target, as Griezmann tries his luck from 25 yards out. His shot is well struck, and heading for the bottom-left corner, but Escandell gets down to make the stop.

16′ Clever play from Soldado, who relieves some pressure by backing into a defender and drawing a foul. Experienced centre-forward play.

14′ Granada have conceded in each of their 24 away LaLiga games against Barca, failing to score in 15 of those matches, including the last six – their last goal at Camp Nou in the competition came back in March 2012.

12′ It has been a rather scrappy start. Barca are getting plenty of the ball but so far, bar that half-chance for Alba, haven’t been able to fashion an opening, with Granada’s defence content to sit deep in a bank of five.

9′ CLOSE! A well-worked Barca move sees Alba get a snapshot off from just outside the box. It takes a deflection off Herrera, and just slices over the bar.

7′ Barca have won 17 of their last 19 LaLiga games against Granada (L2) keeping 11 clean sheets during this period.

5′ Ilaix wins a free-kick which Barca attempt to work into the area, but Foulquier is on hand to intervene, albeit he does appear to pull a muscle while doing so.

3′ Barca start as they mean to go on, controlling possession and instantly probing their way through the thirds. It is eventually worked into Ilaix down the left, but the teenager can’t quite get it back to Alba, and Granada finally get the ball.

1′ KICK-OFF! Barca captain and talisman Messi gets this clash up and running!

The teams are out onto the pitch at Camp Nou which, of course, is still unfortunately devoid of fans as Spain, like the rest of Europe, continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a huge game in the title race, with Barca needing to take advantage of this match in hand!

Diego Martinez has made five alterations to his side, with Carlos Neva, Antonio Puertas, Kenedy, Gonalons and first-choice goalkeeper Rui Silva making way.

GRANADA SUBS: Domingos Quina, Sergio Barcia, Adrian Marin, Maxime Gonalons, Arnau Fabrega, Alberto Soro, Jorge Molina, Joao Costa, Fede Vico.

GRANADA (3-4-3): Aaron Escandell; Nehuen Perez, German Sanchez, Victor Diaz; Dimitri Foulquier, Yangel Herrera, Yan Eteki, Quini; Luis Suarez, Roberto Soldado, Darwin Machis.

Three changes from Koeman, with Pedri, Lenglet and Dest dropping to the bench from the win over Villarreal. In come youngster Ilaix, Roberto and Umtiti.

BARCELONA SUBS: Sergino Dest, Ronald Araujo, Miralem Pjanic, Ousmane Dembele, Riqui Puig, Neto, Clement Lenglet, Pedri, Trincao Junior Firpo, Konrad De la Fuente, Arnau Tenas.

BARCELONA (3-1-4-2): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti; Sergio Busquets; Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong, Ilaxi Moriba, Jordi Alba; Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann.

Granada, meanwhile, sit down in eighth place, and they may still harbour slim hopes of a European finish, albeit they would really have to win today to put themselves in trye contention.

Having won the Copa del Rey, Barca are now well in the midst of what is suddenly a four-way battle for the league title. Ronald Koeman’s team have won their last two games since losing to Real Madrid, beating Getafe 5-2 and Villarreal 2-1.

Welcome to live coverage of LaLiga, as Barcelona look to move to the top of the table, though they must first defeat Granada.