Granada 1 FC Barcelona 0

Granada 1-0 Barça Brahimi goal 2014Granada held on to a 16th minute goal from Yacine Brahimi to leave Barça’s league title chances seriously dented at Los Cármenes tonight. Having been dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday, Tata Martino’s men failed to lift themselves for the challenge and despite managing a total of 26 shots, not one of them could get past Granada’s Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis who only played because first choice Roberto Fernández failed a late fitness test.

Given that Barça were already depleted in central defence through the injuries to Bartra, Piqué and Puyol, it seemed a strange decision for Martino also to rest his first-choice full-backs Alves and Alba. The Barça coach had the option of bringing in Adriano at centre back which would have meant the fewest changes elsewhere as he could have started with a back four of Alves, Mascherano, Adriano and Alba with Busquets as defensive midfield pivot. Instead the defence was formed by Montoya, Busquets, Mascherano and Adriano with Song coming into midfield.

It shouldn’t have mattered, right? This was only Granada and we still had Messi, Neymar, Iniesta, Pedro and Fabregas to do the business. Unfortunately none of the forwards had their day, Messi was more active than on Wednesday but he was off target more often than on, though twice he was denied by Karnezis, once with a splendid leap across goal to keep out a second-half free-kick. Neymar looked more dangerous but he wasted the best chances, twice hitting shots wide from good positions then failing to get enough power on his shot near the end after Alexis flicked the ball through, which allowed Ilori to clear off the line. Pedro slipped before his best chance after a good assist from Messi, and Fabregas’s best effort after Neymar’s nod-down was well stopped by Karnezis. Even Iniesta had four opportunities but he failed to find the target with three shots, and completely missed the ball when Pedro appeared to have played the perfect ball for him.

Given Granada’s defensive approach Montoya also got forward at every opportunity and it should be said that despite his finishing not being great, in the first half especially, he was the player showing most spirit. Unfortunately, when Song was caught out high up the field in the 16th minute, it was Montoya who was chasing the speeding Brahimi when Fran Rico played the pass through. Montoya appeared to be level but Brahimi held off his challenge and clipped the ball past Pinto.

There were still 75 minutes to react and this wasn’t Atlético Madrid that we had to break down. It’s true that Granada had nine men playing deep behind the ball and Barça certainly didn’t lack shooting opportunities, but too many efforts were blocked or went wide, and the few good chances we created were wasted.

It’s fair to say that once in a while a small team beats a big team after heroically defending the only goal of the game, but it’s probably also fair to say on many of those occasions it’s because the small team believes more strongly in the victory than the big team. After 30 minutes tonight, when Neymar began to get involved in a stupid feud with Iturra, there was already the feeling that the defeat was inevitable. The Brazilian was also very fortunate to only receive a yellow card just before half time for kicking Nyom.

The mood seemed to run through the team. They were trying, but they weren’t dying for the cause, almost as if they were convinced of their fate. As against Atlético, Martino only bothered with two substitutions, this time bringing on Alba and Alexis for Adriano and Busquets. The second change was more adventurous but there was a lack of bite in attack to find the equalizer. The switches also meant that Song was moved back into defence and he was beaten by El Arabi in practically Granada’s only attack of the second half but Pinto came to the rescue to prevent further embarrassment.

Some may talk about bad luck but for me it’s more about belief. Mascherano’s post-match comment of “that’s football” suggests the players aren’t facing up to their failings. Martino failed to lift the team after the defeat on Wednesday and there is a definite lack of spark. The league should by no means be over, especially after all the ups and downs in the title race so far, but it is becoming difficult to believe in the chances of the team when they don’t seem to believe in themselves. There is a chance for redemption on Wednesday with the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid. It may be the last chance to turn the season around and this is hardly the best preparation. However, few believed we could win at the Bernabéu last month and we did. After such a topsy-turvy season I wouldn’t be surprised by anything now.

Granada: Karnezis; Nyom, Ilori, Murillo (Mainz m91), Foulquier; Recio, Iturra, Fran Rico; Piti (Coeff m77), El-Arabi, Brahimi (Bravo m65).

Barça: Pinto 5.5; Montoya 6, Busquets 5 (Alexis m73, 5.5), Mascherano 5, Adriano 5 (Alba m67, 5.5); Fabregas 5, Song 5, Iniesta 6; Pedro 5, Messi 5, Neymar 5.

Goal: m16 Brahimi 1-0.

Yellow cards: m45 Neymar, m65 Messi, m66 Busquets

Attendance: 20,000

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12 Responses to Granada 1 FC Barcelona 0

  1. ewe_gb says:

    Elections now. If they have any pride the board member should resign and call for elections.

    Zubi resign now. He has to quit immediately for failing to deal adequately in the transfer department.

    Beginning with not signing one or two center backs for 2 years e.g.

    For dealing as badly as he has done with: Thiago, Abidal, Villa.

    This board and this “director of football” have destroyed one of the greatest teams in football within 3 years.

    Not speaking of the transfer ban.

    A shame.

    • I couldn’t agree more. This is outrageous. I differ on the “lack of spirit” argument. MOST players tried their best. It is just the lack of options upfront. Never send a carpenter to do an electrician’s job. Messi’s days as a false 9 are over. It was good while It lasted but teams know how to play against that now. It is high time he reverted back to his natural position (run more YES) and be the creative player he can be. For someone who is soon to get a possible 3 yrs/ 45million Euros contract, that is the least we could ask. Things that are not RIGHT always end up stinking up the joint and I think this is just the natural order of life manifesting itself: the board is not legitimate and they should put the club first and call for elections NOW. I truly do not think we deserve to win anything this year. I was actually happy and predicted a triple when SR resigned, hoping that the team would react positively to the antibarca campaign but I was wrong. It is clear to me now that these players do not care much for either board or coach. We must turn the page and start anew. The following players should leave the club:
      2-alves (with thanks for great service)
      3-puyol (with eternal gratitude)
      4-cesc (fcb is not the right club for him)
      5-Tello (he can’t make it here)
      6-Alexis (with thanks for the heart)
      7-Valdes (with eternal gratitude)
      8-Pinto (with gratitude but this is fcb you must be able to play with your feet)
      9-Cuenca (can’t make it here)
      10-Affellay (sorry you got injured but your train left the station ling ago)
      I think whoever ends up running the show should SERIOUSLY consider making Xavi Hernandez coach of this team. Because, after the world cup, I am certain that he would seriously consider such an offer, having already won everything to win in the world of futbol.

      • ewe_gb says:

        Regarding Cesc: I have always had mixed feeling. First, I like him and his way of playing. Second, I have to acknowledge that he doesn’t perform consistently. Third, I have thought that it would be wiser to cash in on Cesc and to hold on to Thiago.

        Still, I am not sure about the “Cesc-Barca” connection.

  2. Omar says:

    Last Wednesday we lost the CL, today we lost la liga, and on Wednesday we will lose the CDR. In a matter of one week, we will have said goodbye to the treble. This team is dispirited, dejected, dismantled, distorted, destroyed, disjointed, disbanded, dysfunctional. Utterly disgusting.

  3. Jan nusteen says:

    This board and this director must leave at THE end of te season. Barca alsof needs another trainer. This man can not. maken a team beter. He makes wrong decisions. Johan Cruijff have to come back.

  4. Barca4Life says:

    This season marks the first season in the past seven seasons for Barsa to be actually staring at 3rd place in La Liga a few days after deservingly being eliminated from the Champions League as early as the quarter finals stage.

    As a staunch fan, I have always believed in our system, our youth pedigree and the way we handle things from within.

    The current regime and the previous regime under Sandro Rosell has certainly crossed the line, betrayed and brought shame to the Barsa module of success.

    The greed of making a name as portrayed in the signing of Neymar Jr for a hefty undeserving price tag followed by the acceptance of Qatar group sponsors replacing UNICEF as the header on our shirts and the constant interference of ‘non trainers’ in first team affairs….I believe has played a strong role in bringing us back down to Earth this season.

    As a fan, I can only hope and pray that things go back to normal next season. This season is a hard lesson for the team. Financial power accompanied by greed has strayed us from our path and affected our season more than the aging legs of Xavi and Puyol.

    I have always been against Sugar DAddy backed teams that look to literally buy their trophies. In a way, the ban from purchasing players in 2 transfer windows could be a blessing in disguise for us. We must be patient and look to either promote players from within or purchase the much needed center back after proper planning with an appropriate budget.

    I pray and hope the next election brings forward a chairman and board members that appreciate the Barsa Module.

    Mes Que Un Club. Visca El Barca!

  5. Barca4Life says:

    Dear peeps, pls be informed that we have a fantastic leader in Tata Martino. Believe me when I say this,, not even Pep Guardiola can change things with this board around.

    Fun fact: Did you know that the actual fee to purchase Neymar Jr is equivalent to a fee of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Jan Vertonghen, and A. Schurlle?

    Is this the Barsa you know? Or are we BarDRID now?

    • ewe_gb says:

      This is only depressing and proves the wrong priorities of the board and especially Rossell as it has been his transfer. It left no money for other much needed reinforcements.

  6. layibiyi says:

    Another game and more intriguing incidents.

    Will anybody be surprised if we win the copa del rey 5-0? This is just a very very comical season. Too many events right from the summer. Nothing can surprise me again at this point. Would make for one hell of a movie.

    • I would be surprised Layi. Who knows? Maybe they can but the fact remains: deep change is necessary from top to bottom. It has indeed been a comical season. The players were greeted with boos and geers at the camp nou when they went to pick up their cars…some racist remarks were made for Neymar and maybe Song, which obviously are beyond pale…

      • Omar says:

        I hope they prove me wrong and win the cup, but I find that hard to fathom. While the team is psychologically spent and deflated, Madrid is on a high, having just come back from the dead in la liga, and pretty much alive in all three competitions. It’s a wet dream for them to kill off this Barca team and bury it for good. I’m just hoping it won’t be another embarrassing loss, like last year’s semis.

  7. Pingback: Barça host Granada with PSG in mind | barçacentral

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