Photo: Lluis Gene / AFP / Getty Images
A header from Ronald Araújo when the game was about to reach the end of its regulation time it avoided another defeat of the Barcelona at Camp Nou (1-1), this time in LaLiga Santander, against Granada, who took the lead at 2 minutes with another header from another central defender, Domingo Duarte.
The Catalans, who had the entire match to come back but despite their evident dominance were unable to create clear scoring chances, continue to devalue their price this season, not only in the Champions League but now also in the domestic competition.
After the reality bath that the team had against Bayern in the Champions League, Koeman dispensed with the line of three centrals to return to 4-3-3. But the game script had an unexpected start with the Duarte’s goal right after starting.
Escudero crossed from the left wing on the first occasion of the clash and the Granada center-back beat Frenkie de Jong’s back at the far post to head the ball to the back of the net and provoke the first whistles of the Camp Nou.
Barça encircled the goal of the Nasrid team who, from then on, was dedicated to wasting time and constantly cutting off the rhythm of the rival, master of the ball but sterile in the auction. Granada practically gave up the attack, but still had two more occasions to extend the advantage: a high volley from Molina before the quarter of an hour and a dry shot from the front of Monchu that Ter Stegen rejected in the final stretch of the first half.
A shot to the crossbar by Sergi Roberto after a rejection by the Andalusian defense and another stop by Memphis in a counter was all the local danger before the best minutes of Barça in added time of the first half.
Barça insisted and Granada felt more and more demanded. Memphis finished off forced into the hands of Maximiano, and in the next play he fired deflected, while the culé fans cheered the entrance of the young Gavi by an inoperative Coutinho.
Without ideas or aim, the Dutch coach played it desperately, taking Piqué out of the center forward in the last quarter of an hour for the team to hang balls into the area.
Mingueza crashed a center-kick to the crossbar and Luuk de Jong headed out from the small area when the easiest thing was to score.
But Araújo’s pride, imposing throughout the game, prevented ‘in extremis’ Granada’s second consecutive victory in the Barça fiefdom in the midst of a tense environment, full of fouls, local protests, loss of visiting time, and cards for both teams down the stretch.
1 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Eric García, Balde (Mingueza, min.42); Sergio Busquets (Riqui Puig, min.74), Sergi Roberto (Luuk de Jong, min.46), Frenkie de Jong; Demir (Piqué, min.75), Coutinho (Gavi, min.60) and Memphis.
1 – Granada: Maximiano; Quini, Domingos Duarte, Abram, Escudero (Neva, min.46); Eteki (Montoro, min.30), Luis Milla, Monchu; Puertas (Gonalons, min.61), Molina (Luís Suárez, min.61) and Machís.
Goals: 0-1: Duarte, min.2. 1-1: Araujo (min.90).
Referee: Jaime Latre (Aragonese Committee). He showed a yellow card to Montoro (min.40), Gonalons (min.71), Mingueza (min.76), Koeman (min.85), Maximiano (min.86), Monchu (min.86), Araujo (min. 88), Quini (min.88), Bacca (min.92) and Piqué (min.93).
Incidents: Match of the fifth day of LaLiga Santander played at the Camp Nou before 27,097 spectators. Before the meeting, a minute of silence was observed due to the recent death of Joan Martínez Vilaseca, linked to the club’s grassroots football, in various positions, for 30 years.