Granada lead LaLiga on the back of famous Barça win
Granada vs Barcelona match report:
Newly promoted Granada drove themselves to the top of the LaLiga table after they beat title-holders Barcelona at the Nuevo Estado Las Cármenes, with Ramón Azeez striking early and Álvaro Vadillo scoring a second half penalty to give the home side a famous victory over the mighty Blaugrana.
Ernesto Valverde’s decision to rest Lionel Messi spectacularly backfired, as Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Carles Peréz failed to trouble Granada keeper Silva. In fact, somewhat incredibly, Barca did not manage to have a shot on goal until the 68th minute, which came through replacement Ansu Fati.
With just 26 percent of possession over the whole game, Granada took an early lead after just two minutes, when Junior Firpo, with his first touch on his starting debut for Barcelona, gave a wayward back pass towards Ter Stegen. Antonio Puertas was the quickest to latch onto the loose ball. The Granada winger rushed forward and had a shot deflected high and over the keeper towards the far post, where Azeez was waiting to slot it in with his head from two yards.
A nightmare debut for the full back, Junior Firpo made way at half time for Ansu Fati, while Lionel Messi also came on, but the pair failed to turn things around as was expected. And by the 66th minute, Barcelona found themselves 2-0 down. Valverde’s third replacement, Arturo Vidal was the culprit this time, giving away a penalty for a hand ball in the box. And Granada substitute Vadillo, who had come at the same moment as Vidal just five minutes earlier, stepped up to send Ter Stegen the wrong way and slot the ball into the bottom left corner.
The result, only Granada’s second win over Barcelona in the last 12 meetings and first since 2014, consigns Barcelona to their worst start to LaLiga in 25 years, and leaves Valverde’s men with plenty of questions to ask themselves before they host Villarreal at Camp Nou on Tuesday, where anything less than a win will be seen as catastrophic failure.
Peep, peep, peep!!! It's all over. Granada have beaten Barcelona by 2 goals to nil. I'd like to know what the odds were on that. "Are Granada going to do a Leicester then?," asks my colleague here. Ha! Unlikely but they are currently top of the LaLiga table after five games played.
Granada have a direct free kick 25 yards out. Vadillo takes but he's put the ball about three yards wide of the right post.
Three minutes addes on, it's almost safe to say that Granada have their first win over Barcelona since 2014.
Inside the left side of the Granada box, Fati slots the ball forward to Semedo, but the full back overcooks it as he tries to round the defender and it's out for a goal kick. Granada are minutes away from a memorable victory.
Chance Barcelona! Fati plays a low cross from the left, Suarez dummies and Messi hits a low shot first time with his left boot from 12 yards. It's a decent effort but not good enough to beat Silva.
May remind you that the value of Granada's squad is 33.5 million euros, 35 times less than Barcelona's at 1.18 billion.
Griezmann's cross from the right sails over the inner area to Fati on the left side of the box. After taking a couple of touches he puts the ball back in the mixer, but Silva collects. He's been Barca's biggest threat in this second half.
Barcelona have 20 minutes to score two goals at at least salvage a point. Otherwise Granada will finish the game sitting on top of LaLiga.
Well here's a stat for you: Barcelona have just had their first shot on goal after 68 minutes (not including 3 blocked attempts), and it's that young man Ansu Fati, whose shot from 8 yards is saved!
Goal Granada!!! Vadillo, the man who just came on a few minutes ago, at the same time as the man who gave away the penalty, sends Ter Stegen the wrong way and slots it into the bottom left corner.
Granada have chance to whip a free kick in from the left after Semedo fouls the winger.
Another change for Granada: Machis for Vadillo. Barcelona bring on Vidal for Rakitic.
Messi and Fati link up on the right. Fati tries to round the defender but the keeper snuffs out the danger. Those two could be a handful for Granada over the last half hour.
Huge applause for Roberto Soldado as he makes way for Carlos Fernandez, who came to Granada from Sevilla on loan this summer.
Wow! It's almost 2-0, as Ter Stegen fumbles as he jumps to take a high ball. The Barca manages to recover the ball just before it crosses over his own goal line. That would have been unforgiveable.
Messi's shot is blocked by the wall, leaving Barcelona, incredibly, without a shot on goal in 50 minutes of play.
Another card for Granada, this time it's Herrera for a foul on Messi, who now has a chance to strike one from a free kick.
In a clear act of revenge, Soldado has kicked Pique and goes in the book. Looking at the replay, it could have been a red. He is lucky.
Peep!!! Barcelona get the first half underway. Granada now have the unenviable task of keeping replacements Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati at bay.
No surprises there. Messi and Ansu Fati come on for Barcelona.
As it stands, Granada are currently top of the table and will remain so until tomorrow if the score doesn't change.
"Wasn't so long ago that Premier League centric fans laughed at Barcelona threatening double figures against the likes of Granada while Premier League champions struggled against the likes of Watford. The situation has now flipped 180 degrees" notes Colin Millar on Twitter. In case you hadn't heard, Man City beat Watford 8-0 earlier.
Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi had to watch that poor first half from the bench. One of them is sure to be brought on at half time or soon after. Barcelona had 70% of possession but incredibly have NOT HAD A SHOT ON GOAL. It would be very interesting to know the last time that happened.
Peep, peep!!! Half-time with Barcelona trailing by a goal.
Pique goes in the book for shoving an arm into Soldado. He's furious with the decision.
The crowd leave out a huge roar as Silva comes to collect the corner. They're on cloud nine at the moment.
Four minutes added on here.
Montoro is back on his feet and it's play on. May I remind you that Barca have still not had a shot on goal!
Granada put the ball out to allow Montoro to get some attention. He seems to be badly winded.
Another chance for Granada comes about after some more dodgy defending from Barcelona. Pique makes a hames of a clearence, it lands at a Granada boot but the shot sails over.
Fair play to the minnows Granada here, they've really put in a shift so far. To keep Barcelona from having a shot on goal in 38 minutes of play is quite an achievement. That stat still hasn't changed.
Half hour gone here, and despite having 68% of possession, Barcelona have not had a shot on goal, aside from Suarez's well blocked free kick. Granada, meanwhile, have managed three, and scored with one.
Chance Granada, who break quickly. Machis rushes forward and does well to play the ball wide to the unmarked Neva. But his cross is blocked by Barcelona defence. Barca are looking very shaky at the back.
De Jong fouls Azeez and Granada have a chance to launch a ball into the box. It's a decent delivery from 40 yards out. The ball bounces from head to head in the box until it eventually lands in Ter Stegen's hands.
Suarez immediately tries to chase down his own deflected free but fouls the defender in the process, and goes in the book for his troubles.
With no Messi on the pitch, Suarez takes the free kick. His low shot is blocked by the wall.
Foul on De Jong just outside the Granada box by Sanchez. Barcelona have a chance now with a direct free kick.
The home crowd are infuriated after Pique takes down Machis around the half way line. But no foul given.
Suarez is currently getting some attention for what look likes an eye injury.
Granada corner comes in, and Barcelona struggled to deal with it. Eventually they clear it away before Azeez gets his foot to a loose ball to shoot from 8 yards.
It's frantic stuff here at the moment. Granda's Puertas has a pop from distance, and it's just wide of Ter Stegen's left post.
It's been all Barcelona since the goal. Who would bet against them getting an equaliser? A huge sense of urgency about Valverde's men, though it's far from panic stations yet.
Wow! Junior Firpo has gifted a goal to Granada within two minutes of his full debut. He cocks up a back pass, allowing Puertas to latch on to the ball. Puertas rushes forward and his shot is deflected high and over the keeper. It looked like it was going in at the far post anyway, but Azeez made sure with his head, and the goal will go down as the latter's. What a first touch for Junior Firpo! Absolute nightmare start for him.
Goal Granada! Huge blunder from Junior Firpo.
Peep!!! Granada get things underway!
The teams are on the pitch now as we ready for kick off. Barca in green, Granda in red and white.
Five minutes until show time here. Stay tuned!
The current value of the entire Granada squad is 33.5 million euros, that's 35 times less than Barcelona's 1.18-billion-euro squad valuation.
Weather in Granada is typical of Andalusian evening in late September, 22 degrees as the sun goes down over the Nuevo Estadio Las Cármenes. Not a drop in rain in sight.
News of Atlético's 0-0 draw at home against Celta Vigo will have just filtered through to the Barcelona dressing room, where that result will come as good news. Atléti currently sit level on ten points with Sevilla at the top of the table. Although the latter has a game in hand against Real Madrid tomorrow.
Barcelona have won all six of last league meetings between the two sides, The last time Granada recorded at home against EL Blaugrana was the 1-0 back in 2013-14 campaign.
Sittting on Barcelona's bench tonight is a young man whose made a quite a name for himself in the last few weeks. Barcelona’s 16-year-old starlet Ansu Fati has been one of the unexpected sensations in LaLiga at this early point of the season, having netted two goals and one assist in in just three league appearances.
After becoming Barcelona’s youngest ever debutant in the Champions League against Borrussia Dortmund on Tuesday, Fati was granted his Spanish passport on Friday following a fast-track procedure, putting him in line for selection for the upcoming U-17 World Cup (although Ernesto Valverde is understandably not too happy about letting him go).
Here is the home side starting XI
Hello and welcome to our coverage of the LaLiga match day five clash between newly promoted Granada and title-holders Barcelona.
Ernesto Valverde's side travel to the picturesque Andalusian city after having not made the greatest start to their LaLiga campaign. After dropping points in two of the four opening games, which included defeat to Bilbao, El Blaugrana sit in seventh place and level on points with tonight's opponents, who will be very satisfied with their top-half league position as Primera Division new boys.
While the home side will go in full of confidence, their chances of pulling off an upset will be dented by the fact that Valverde will have the luxury of fielding Griezmann, Suarez and Messi from the start for the first time this season. Barcelona's exciting-looking new trident will potentially cause major problems at the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, unless the Barca boss decides to rest the latter, which is, of course, a possibility.
Although if Messi is rested, Granada head coach Diego Martinez has said that “nothing changes for us”. And he's probably right. Waiting in the wings is none other than 16-year-old Ansu Fati, the unexpected sensation whose performances (2 goals and one assist in three LaLiga games) has prompted many, perhaps prematurely, to hail him as Messi's rightful heir. Barca fans and neutrals alike will hope to see more of the youngster tonight, four days after he became the club's youngest ever debutant in the Champions League against Borrussia Dortmund midweek.