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The defending champions continue a series of bad matches, losing 0-2 to Granada in Round 5 of La Liga.
Goals: Azeez 2 ‘, Vadillo 66’ penalty.
After returning to play in the Borussia Dortmund draw in the Champions League on midweek, as most of the betting sites predicted, Lionel Messi once again started on the bench. Because his physical strength has not fully recovered, he has not been able to play at his peak. However, the absence caused more damage to Jordi Alba, the left-back stopped playing due to an injury.
When he first started playing Alba, rookie Junior Firpo had a disastrous debut with two mistakes in the first 63 seconds. After passing Firpo, Antonio Puertas freely penetrated the penalty area to make a sinking. After the ball hit Gerard Pique’s foot and changed direction past goalkeeper Ter Stegen, Ramon Azeez appeared to head on an open goal to open the scoring for Granada.
As stunned after the first goal, Barca were powerless in giving an “answer”. The attack, including Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Carles Perez, did not perform as expected by the fans. They controlled the ball and pressed the field, but failed to make a single goal goal in the first half. The only situation that caught Barca’s attention was Suarez’s free-kick that hit the fence.
Granada crafts are also part of the reason that Barca plays down. By defending based on mass, discipline and effective space control, the home team succeeded in neutralizing the opponent’s tactics.
Aware of the difficulties, coach Ernesto Valverde threw Messi and prodigy Ansu Fati into the field from the beginning of the second half. However, the boost did not help Barca. Having retired from the beginning of July, Messi lost the image of the player who scored more than 50 goals last season. He could do nothing but force goalkeeper Rui Silva to make the first save.
Fati also did not contribute much, besides the stirring phase on the left wing. If more experience, the 16-year-old striker may have created more danger from the effort to cross the penalty area.
Barca’s early discouragement was also caused by the fact that Granada had a goal to set the victory from 66 minutes. Having the opportunity on the 11m mark, Alvaro Vadillo tricked goalkeeper Ter Stegen to double the gap.