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Barça have dropped their first points of 2022 after drawing 1-1 in Granada on Saturday. The Catalans were excellent value for their 1-0 lead on the hour mark but failed to kill off the game.
Then Gavi’s sending off with ten minutes to go breathed new life into the home side, and their late charge produced an equaliser that means what really should have been three points ended up being just the one.
Instead, the Andalusians are able to celebrate a record third consecutive league game without defeat to FC Barcelona, having also drawn 1-1 at Camp Nou earlier this season and won 2-1 at the same stadium in April.
The outcome is that Barça have dropped to sixth following Real Sociedad’s victory earlier in the day and pending what Rayo Vallecano do against Betis on Sunday.
De Jong does it again
Granada are a decent side, so Ter Stegen was never entirely at ease on the day of his 200th Liga appearance. But Barça looked to have plenty of control over things both in attack and defence. All that was missing was a goal, but as the game reached the hour mark, they still had nothing tangible to show for all their efforts.
Luuk de Jong did have the ball in the net after just 8 minutes but his good work counted for nothing due to the most marginal of offsides in the build-up. The Dutchman also very nearly scored with a bizarrely inventive aerial back-heel
But the man who got the team out of a rut a week before in the Balearic Islands finally managed to do the same at Los Cármenes. The cross was hoofed in by the oldest player ever to appear for Barça in a Liga fixture, Dani Alves, and De Jong rose brilliantly to head it goalward.
Gavi red card
Luuk exited the action shortly after to make way for his compatriot Memphis Depay, fresh back from injury.
While Barça let several chances to double their lead go begging, Granada, looking to equal their best-ever run of seven Liga games without defeat, started to look more and more dangerous.
And Barça’s situation became even more uneasy when Gavi was sent off for a second bookable offence. The last ten minutes were going to be tense…
Last minute misery
Former Barça assistant coach Robert Moreno gambled on an extremely attack-minded formation for the final minutes, with Barça loanee striker Alex Collado among the mix.
Barça did everything to tame the onslaught. But right at the end of regulation time Antonio Puertas was on the end of a cleared corner to slam in an equaliser.
It was frustrating climax to a game that Barça had come so close to winning, but all credit has to go to Granada for never giving up. For Barça, meanwhile, attention now switches to the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia and a massive semi-final match-up against Real Madrid. Bring it on!
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