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Celta de Vigo
November 23, 2013
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
• Attendance: 71518
A. Sánchez 71'
That's all we have time for, but we hope that you enjoyed our live coverage of Barcelona's comfortable 4-0 victory over Granada. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
That win, of course, allows for Barca to maintain the pace ahead of the chasing pack in La Liga, while Granada experience an expected blip after previous back-to-back wins. The visitors had never managed to win at Camp Nou in their league history, but today's result wasn't too out of the blue!
A frustrating result for the away side, who fell apart somewhat in the final five minutes, but there can be no dispute that Barca deserve the three points and considerable boost of goal difference. Martino's side were just too good offensively for Granada to handle.
FULL TIME! Barcelona complete a rather routine 4-0 victory over Granada at Camp Nou, courtesy of two penalties from Iniesta and Fabregas, and second half goals from Pedro and Alexis Sanchez. An easy game for Martino's men in the end, with Iturra's red card helping the league leaders on their way.
90' + 2'
Great interception from Murillo! The central defender slid in well to clear Fabregas' attempted through ball clear of danger, with Pedro playing on his shoulder. That was an important intervention to prevent things from getting really embarrassing.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOOAL! It's four! Barcelona lead 4-0, and Pedro wraps up the win in style, leaving Roberto spreadeagled helplessly on his goal line. The home side broke quickly, as Fabregas pressed down the right, waited for the right moment before crossing to the back post for Pedro to convert on the slide.
ADAMA! The young substitute from La Masia cuts inside from the left with pace, before firing a strike straight at Roberto from the edge of the box! He holds his head in his hands, he thought that was a debut goal!
Only a few minutes left, and the away side will presumably be keen to get back to their dressing room. The two conceded penalties and sending off will be the talking points, but there has been a real gulf in class between both sides this afternoon.
SONG! The substitute finds himself in rather unfamiliar territory on the edge of the opposition penalty area, and attempts to thread Iniesta through on goal as opposed to taking a first time shot at goal! It is easily cut out by a ruck of Granada defenders.
Five minutes remaining, and the game is almost as flat as the atmosphere. Camp Nou is rather silent while Barcelona keep monotonous possession, it's only when the hosts press up the field that the exciting, chattering buzz of atmosphere returns to the game.
Barcelona are happy to maintain possession, stroking the ball around their defensive third composedly, making Riki chase everything. The away side are determined to hold their shape and stay resilient until the very end, but Barca are playing with them at this point of proceedings.
Ten minutes left on the clock, and the result is a formality at this point. Only Piti and Brahimi have looked at all dangerous for the visitors, but Granada can still play for pride. Barca haven't really got out of second gear in this half, but they've got the job done.
PIQUE! The central defender finds himself on the edge of the 18-yard box, but can only fire hopelessly wide with a sliced effort! That was really quite terrible, perhaps the defender should stick to his own half!
PEDRO! Foulquier is set one way and then the other by Pedro, as the winger dips from left to right, wrongfooting the Frenchman before bursting past him. The young Granada defender recovers however, and blocks Pedro's eventual strike. Good defending.
PITI! A skidding effort from the Granada midfielder has Pinto at full stretch to get across his goal and palm the ball around the post for a corner! Nothing comes from it however, as a wayward header awards Barca a goal kick.
A couple of changes from Martino suggest that the Argentine coach is willing to see this game out now, with Song and Sergi Roberto adding some fresh legs to the centre of midfield. Despite their large advantage, Barca are still pouring players forward whenever possible.
What skill from Neymar! The Brazilian embarrasses Nyom, much to the amusement of the Camp Nou crowd, turning him outside out with a piece of trickery! He flicks the ball inside to Fabregas, but the Spaniard is robbed of the ball before he can get a shot away.
The Senegalese right-back will be very disappointing with his part leading up to that Barcelona goal! He waited and waited, bearing down on goal with two teammates square, but inside fired straight at Pinto, allowing for Barca to regain possession and break.
Youssef El Arabi
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOOOOAL! ALEXIS SANCHEZ MAKES IT 3-0! Barcelona are in control now, as the Chile international slots the ball home past Roberto to give an unassailable lead. All of this moments after a wasted chance for Nyom, who fired a shot from six yards straight at Pinto!
Fran Rico makes a good challenge to set Granada on their way up the field, feeding Brahimi, but the Algerian is fouled. He's been a great outlet for the away side in this game, he's not afraid to carry the ball and has caused Montoya his fair share of problems thus far.
What was an already unenviable task for the visitors has been made even moreso with that dismissal of Iturra. Somewhat predictable, but the midfielder has done his side no favours. Throughout the second half, Granada have looked reasonably solid, but losing a man to cover space certainly will be detrimental against the likes of Barcelona.
Yellow/Red Manuel Iturra
RED CARD! Iturra has been sent off! The Granada midfielder has been given his marching orders for a cynical challenge on Pedro, and as a result his side will be playing the last 25 minutes or so with ten men.
Around half an hour left to play, and it's tough to look beyond Barcelona for the three points this afternoon. Granada threaten sporadically, and the hosts have gone a little flat in the second half, seemingly thinking that the game is as good as won already. A third goal would definitely kill the sense of competition.
Good defensive header at the back post from Montoya! The right-back tucked inside to win the header over El Arabi, if the youngster had lost that aerial duel, the ball would have fallen to an unmarked Brahimi in space! Important win.
PITI! Another half chance for the Granada midfielder, but it is blocked! Pinto half clearance the corner delivery, before the loose ball fell to Piti, but he was unable to capitalise on such a situation!
It seems that Martino is preparing to use some of his teenage substitutes, as this scenario certainly lends itself to given youngsters an opportunity. Granada do not look capable of finding two goals from anywhere, so it is relatively safe to give some fringe players a chance.
CHANCE! Granada have an opportunity to capitalise on a missed interception, as Pique fails to deal with a tame cut-back from El Arabi! It falls to Recio, but his shot is blocked!
NEYMAR! Iniesta slides Neymar through on goal excellently, before the Brazilian takes the ball around Roberto, but the linesman has his flag up for offside! A close ball, but Neymar looked to have just leaned beyond the last man, a second too early.
PEDRO! An intelligent clipped through ball from deep finds Pedro in behind Diakhate, but again the Spaniard can't capitalise on a good opportunity, and misses his touch. Presumably, Pedro could be the first name of Martino's list of possible substitutions.
NEYMAR! The Brazilian tries his luck from the edge of the box, but the ball is deflected behind for a corner. Granada drag everyone back, despite Barcelona not being necessarily renowned for their collective height.
Barcelona continue to dominate, stroking the ball around with confidence, as Granada sit very deep and invite Barca on. Not much of a spectacle in the second half, there isn't the same energy about the hosts' forward line, and chances are a little limited.
Another shaky moment for Montoya, as the right-back nods behind for a corner under limited pressure from Brahimi. Better to be safe than sorry, but the young defender was unaware of his surroundings there, when he should have known the location of his man.
PEDRO! WHAT A MISS! The loose ball falls to the Spaniard at the back post, after a sprawling Roberto pushes the ball out into the path of the Barca winger, but Pedro snatches at it and fires over! What a chance!
EL ARABI! Brahimi delivers from the left, after Montoya gives the Algerian too much space, but El Arabi gets under the delivery, steering his header over the crossbar from eight yards out!
A slow start to the second half, with Granada clearly aware that one more Barcelona goal will kill off this game as a contest. The hosts will presumably opt to hit their opposition on the break, but El Arabi isn't getting much support.
We are back underway in the second half! Barcelona are in control, as shown from the 2-0 scoreline, but an early goal from the away side could change the face of the game. If the hosts grab a third goal, Martino could be tempted to throw a few of his teenage substitutes into the fray.
This game does seem to be heading towards a Barcelona victory, given that Piti has been the only visiting player to trouble or test Pinto whatsoever. Valdes' deputy has been given little to do, with only Montoya having a testing afternoon against Brahimi.
Not the most convincing or clinical performance from Martino's men, but Iniesta and the attacking trio of Sanchez, Pedro and Neymar are causing Granada constant problems. Other than on the break, the away side have rarely held onto possession for longer than a minute.
HALF TIME! Barcelona have a comfortable lead at the break, courtesy of two first half penalties. Iniesta and Fabregas converted each respectively, leaving Granada with a near impossible task in the second half. Piti has gone closest for the visitors, striking the bar from range.
Good interception from Murillo! The Granada central defender steps in to rob Sanchez of the ball, as the Chilean looks to cut inside onto his left foot. Sanchez has been given so much space on the right hand side, and is playing against a very young and inexperienced player in Foulquier.
PEDRO! Excellent feet from the Spain international, as sends Nyom the wrong way before stabbing a cross in the direction of Neymar. The delivery is too close to Roberto however, who collects.
Yellow Card Busquets
Despite their attempts to stay in this game, Granada have been undone by giving away a ridiculous two first half penalties. Barcelona have had plenty of possession around the edge of the opposition box, and whenever a player forays over the 18-yard line, there is a danger of Granada conceding yet another. Such dribbling ability and quick feet in the Barcelona offensive line.
Penalty Goal Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOAL! FABREGAS! This time Cesc converts, sending Roberto the wrong way and slotting the ball into the bottom right corner! Barcelona can cruise now, they have their reassuring two goal cushion. It's 2-0 to the home side!
PENALTY TO BARCA! Another penalty, this time it is Rico and there are no complaints from the visiting defenders!
Good interception from Diakhate! The Senegalese defender slides in to clear the danger, after a tantalisingly weighted ball from Sanchez looked to trickle to the back post to allow Iniesta to stab home. Plenty of intelligent ideas from Barcelona, but no second goal.
Good play from Brahimi! The Algerian is causing a few problems for Montoya with his quick feet and keenness to beat his man, but the end product isn't quite on offer from the left winger. Barcelona certainly need another goal to try and kill off this spirited Granada resistance.
ALEXIS! Fantastic play from Fabregas! A delightful turn from Fabregas manages to open up a pocket of space in front of the Granada defence, before the Spaniard threads through a wonderfully weighted through ball to the moving Sanchez. His control lets him down, and Roberto smothers the loose ball.
When Granada are given a yard of space to move the ball, the away side are managing to shift play around very comfortably. A build up involving around 30 passes rolls its way through to Pinto. No end product, but the visitors certainly aren't frightened to play their own football.
Poor control from Neymar! The Brazilian misses his touch entirely as he was threaded through on ball, and the Camp Nou crowd sigh with collective dismay. Barcelona build another attack however, and an excellent clipped ball from Pedro almost finds Neymar unmarked at the back post.
PITI! Good save from Pinto! The Granada midfielder isn't afraid to try his luck from range, and this time aims for the bottom right corner with a 30 yard free-kick. Pinto does well to sprawl to the left to claim the skidding effort, but it was at a comfortable height for Valdes' deputy.
Brahimi does well to beat Montoya, as the winger looks to get to the byline, but is forced to track back after spotting that no Granada shirts had dared to progress into the penalty area. Plenty of nice footwork on show in this game, for both sides.
Yellow Card Neymar
Roberto commands his area well once again, as he is quick off his line to deny Fabregas a chance to head at goal, as a lovely flicked ball from Iniesta looks to find his teammate in the depths of the penalty area.
Yellow Card Youssef El Arabi
A couple of early yellow cards for the away side, as a mixture of frustration and merely being beaten by sheer skill take their toll. Such bookings could prove important in the second half, as it's certainly not in the interests of Granada to make things any harder for themselves with a dismissal.
Yellow Card Manuel Iturra
PITI! WHAT A STRIKE! It cannons off the centre of the bar, with Pinto completely beaten! The ball was travelling at some speed, and the Barcelona goalkeeper wasn't getting near it!
Despite them trailing, El Arabi, Brahimi and Piti certainly have the ability to capitalise on any Barcelona mistakes, with the combination of technical ability and pace capable of causing Pique and Bartra a few problems.
The perfect start to the game for Barcelona, as they now have a cushion to continue playing in the manner which has seen them dominate the opening 20 minutes. There was no way through the resilient visiting central defensive pairing beforehand, but conceding a goal could soften Grenada up a little now.
Penalty Goal Andrés Iniesta Luján
GOOOOAL! It's 1-0 to Barcelona, as Iniesta slots the ball confidently past the central Roberto! Diakhate and the Grenada goalkeeper still aren't happy with the referee's decision, but the hosts lead at Camp Nou!
Yellow Card Pape Diakhaté
PENALTY TO BARCA! Fabregas is brought to the ground by a stray knee, after the midfielder had already outrun the ball and lost control of it! Roberto protests, but Iturra has been penalised and Martino's men have an early penalty chance to convert.
PITI! Gorgeous skill from the Granada man! A quick shift of his feet from left to right takes him around both Iniesta and Busquets in one movement, but his eventual shot doesn't match the build up play! From 30 yards, he balloons an effort wayward of the target.
A quarter of an hour gone, and Barcelona have asserted their dominance on this game as would be expected. A few losses of possession from Neymar as a lone striker have been noticeable errors, but aside from this, Martino will be pleased with his side's start.
ALEXIS! Excellent save from Roberto! Neymar whips in a free-kick delivery, with the Chilean and Barta both vying to meet the well-flighted ball! Sanchez gets the final touch, but a strong left hand from Roberto meets the flicked header from six yards out! Quite a save.
Granada, unsurprisingly, can't get out of their own half at the moment. Iniesta is popping up all over the field, driving at his marker and committing defenders, opening up space in other areas of the field. So much technical ability on show in the Barcelona forward line.
NEYMAR! The Brazilian to fed the ball by Alexis, but opts to try his luck at goal after seeing Roberto off his line, rather than slipping through Pedro. The crowd applaud his effort, but that was some way over the bar.
Roberto is forced to be quick off his line yet again! The Spanish goalkeeper races out to catching a looping, bouncing through ball, and took it off the head of Sanchez. Granada then break, but El Arabi fires way, way wide from 30 yards.
PITI! The Grenada midfielder tries an audacious volley at the back post from a corner delivery, but the referee pulls play back for a push in the box. The shot was charged down anyhow, but Piti isn't too pleased with the referee's decision.
INIESTA! Roberto is forced into another routine save, as the playmaker cuts inside from the right hand side and lets fly with his left foot from the edge of the box. Nothing too troubling for the visiting goalkeeper yet!
Unfortunate for Fabregas, the Barca midfielder looks to feed a clever ball in behind Nyom for Sanchez, but the Senegalese defender cuts it out. Granada are sitting very deep, allowing for Barcelona to dictate play and give plenty of the ball to their dangerous attacking forces.
Poor stuff from Brahimi! Bartra manages to recover and rob the left winger of the ball, after a quick break from Granada. Barcelona appear to be in total control of this game, but the pace of the visitors on the break could cause the odd problem.
FABREGAS! The Spain international tries his luck from the resulting free-kick, but the ball clips the wall before spiralling out of play for a corner. Barcelona fail to capitalise on the set piece, and Murillo clears.
Early chances for the home side, as can be expected. Sanchez continues his good early game involvement with an excellent chop inside Foulquier, before lofting a delightful ball into the path of Iniesta. The attack breaks down, before Neymar feeds Iniesta in behind the Granada defence, but the referee already pulled play back for a foul!
ALEXIS! The Chilean already manages to get a shot off at goal, firing directly at Roberto in the Granada net. With two passes, the hosts opened up their opposition, worrying early signs for the away side, most definitely!
We are underway! Neymar will be playing centrally today, so a goalscoring performance is probably the least that the home crowd will expect from the Brazilian. Alexis Sanchez can take some of the weight of responsibility however, following his brace against England during the international break.
The players are out on the field, and we are moments from kick-off in this game as Camp Nou, as Barcelona look to stay on course at the peak of La Liga. A slip up today would only continue to motivate the chasing pack of Real Madrid and Atletico.
A somewhat inexperienced defensive line for Barcelona today, with Bartra and Montoya continuing to feature for the hosts, and in El Arabi they certainly have a danger man to keep their eye on. Neymar appears to be adopting the false nine role this afternoon, with the in-form Sanchez and Pedro on the flanks.
Granada substitutes: Karnezis, Ighalo, Yebda, Buonanotte, Angulo, Coeff, Riki.
Granada starting line-up: Roberto; Nyom, Diakhate, Murillo, Foulquier; Piti, Recio, Iturra, Rico, Brahimi; El Arabi.
Barcelona substitutes: Puyol, Mascherano, Song, Sergi Roberto, Oier, Adama Traore, Dongou.
Barcelona starting line-up: Pinto; Montoya, Bartra, Pique, Adriano; Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas; Pedro, Sanchez, Neymar.
TEAM NEWS: Victor Valdes joins the likes of Lionel Messi, Dani Alves and Jordi Alba on the injury list, after the Spanish goalkeeper picked up a calf injury during the international break. The absence of their talismanic Argentine means that an offensive trio without a recognised striker has been deployed by Tata Martino.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading you through all of the action, as a recently strong Granada outfit travel to perhaps the toughest venue in Spain. Three wins from their last five games suggest that the away side are capable of causing a stir, but against the collective quality of Barcelona, taking any points is a tough ask.
Hello and welcome to La Liga's early kick-off for the day, as Granada travel to Camp Nou to face Barcelona - a stadium in which the away side have never managed to take all three points in their history. The odds are stacked against the visitors, but with a growing Barca injury list, there's possibility for an upset.
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