MX23RW : Friday, February 26 10:07:41| >> :60:1832:1832:
Apr 12, 2014 at 7pm UK at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes
Granada
1-0
Barcelona
Brahimi (16')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Match Analysis: Granada 1-0 Barcelona

Sports Mole dissects the action as Granada record a 1-0 win over Barcelona in La Liga.

Barcelona's title hopes suffered a real blow this evening as they were beaten 1-0 by Granada in La Liga.

The Catalan outfit had an incredible 29 attempts, but Yacine Brahimi's first-half strike was enough for the home side to secure all the points and ease their relegation troubles in the process.

The result means that Barcelona remain one point behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who now have a game in hand.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two La Liga rivals.

Match statistics

Granada
Shots: 5
On target: 4
Possession: 19%
Corners: 1
Fouls: 10

Barcelona
Shots: 29
On target: 9
Possession: 81%
Corners: 13
Fouls: 5

Was the result fair?

Statistics rarely paint a false picture and the fact that Barcelona dominated every single area is an indication of the events that occurred this evening. Credit must be given to Granada for their incredible defensive effort, but in truth, Barcelona had enough chances to win five games of football. The Catalan outfit's defensive issues cost them a cheap goal in the first period, but they always looked capable of responding. Too often the final pass or finishing touch was not present, however, as their title chances suffered a real blow. On another day, they would have won this match quite comfortably.

Granada's performance

Granada certainly had to ride their luck for long spells this evening, but they must be credited for their impressive rear-guard display. In truth, they hardly ventured into the Barcelona half, especially in the second period, as they spent long periods without a touch. However, Brahimi's first-half strike gave them something precious to protect. They remained a threat on the counter attack, meanwhile, and perhaps should have added to their tally in the latter stages when Youssef El-Arabi advanced into a one-on-one situation with Barcelona stopper Jose Pinto. They entered the match on the back of three defeats in the league, but returned to form in serious fashion this evening. The three points moved them into 13th position with just five games of the Spanish season remaining.

Barcelona's performance

It had been wondered whether there would be a hangover from their Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid during the week and that was indeed the case. Injuries forced head coach Gerardo Martino to select a centre-back partnership of Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano and it was poor positioning from both that cost them the opening goal. Andres Iniesta was dropped into a central midfield position, but it was the absence of Xavi - even from the bench - that was most surprising. Again Lionel Messi was ineffective, while Pedro and Neymar failed to find that elusive touch inside the Granada box. That said, although it was an under-par performance, Barcelona had enough chances to comfortably beat Granada this evening. The defeat means that their hopes of retaining the title are now out of their own hands.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Allan Nyom: Allan Nyom is not one of the most technical defenders in the division, but the Granada right-back is certainly one of the most athletic. The 25-year-old stood up to the challenge of Neymar throughout the contest, with the Brazilian time and time again struggling to get the best of the full-back. Even though his positioning was slightly wayward at times, Nyom always had the pace to make up the lost ground. It was a real heart-on-sleeve performance from the Cameroon international.

Biggest gaffe

Barcelona shot-stopper Pinto made a brilliant save in the latter stages to deny El-Arabi from close range, but the veteran stopper made a real hash of the Granada goal. Brahimi appeared to take the ball too wide inside the Barcelona box, but somehow still managed to find the back of the net from a tight angle. Replays showed that it was really poor positioning from the Spaniard, who will finish the season as the Catalan outfit's number one following a long-term injury to Victor Valdes.

Referee performance

It was a fairly simple 90 minutes for referee Carlos Delgado, who issued just the three bookings, all of which were awarded to Barcelona. The Spaniard dealt with an ongoing issue in the first period between Neymar and Granada midfielder Manuel Iturra and was always on hand to calm proceedings when tensions threatened to boil over. It was a stern, yet fair performance from the experienced official.

What next?

Granada: Granada will attempt to build on this result when they travel to in-form Sevilla next weekend.

Barcelona: The Catalan outfit face Real Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey at the Mestalla on Wednesday.

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Atletico Madrid's Koke celebrates with team mate David Villa after scoring the opening goal against Barcelona during their Champions League quarter final match on April 9, 2014
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Match Analysis: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
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