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17 February 2013
• Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, Granada
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
• Attendance: 22000
O. Ighalo 26'
L. Messi 50', 73'
That's all from me for this evening guys and girls. Thank you very much for joining me. Til next time! Good night.
FULL-TIME: GRANADA 1-2 BARCELONA The Catalan side overturned a one-goal deficit to triumph in Andalusia thanks to two second-half goals from their talismanic striker Lionel Messi. The 25-year-old netted his 300th and 301st goals for the club to secure them all three points after Odion Ighalo had opened the scoring for the home side. Barcelona move temporarily 15 points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top, with Diego Simeone's side travelling to play Valladolid tomorrow evening.
90' + 4'
And there is the final whistle!! Barca have fought back to win 2-1 at Los Carmenes.
90' + 3'
GREAT SAVE BY VALDES!! Yacine Brahimi hits a firm effort on target from a tight angle on the left but the Barca goalkeeper is equal to it and tips the shot round the post to keep his side in the lead.
90' + 1'
The fourth official signals for four minutes of added time.
Nyom roams forward with the ball for Granada but is dispossessed by a strong tackle from Busquets. Barcelona try and exploit the gap left by the marauding right-back but take too long moving the ball forward and Nyom is able to track back and avert the danger.
Yellow Card Thiago Alcántara
CHANCE FOR LOPEZ!! The Granada centre-back has a glorious chance to level the scores with a free header at the back post but he heads straight into the arms of Valdes. A huge let-off for Barcelona!
Buonanotte cuts in from the right on to his favoured left foot and swings a cross towards Inigo Lopez but play is halted by the referee after Busquets goes down flailing his arms. He got brushed with an elbow across his chest, but he goes down clutching his face. A true thespian.
A powerful run from Messi ends with a pass out to Tello on the right. The youngster smashes an effort towards the top left corner but gets a bit too much on the strike as it flies a yard or so high and wide.
Jordi Roura will not have learnt much about his side tonight that he didn't already know ahead of their clash with Milan on Wednesday. I'll say one thing though, I will be very surprised if Alexis Sanchez was to start at San Siro!
Valdes is forced into making a fairly routine stop from El-Arabi's header after decent play from Diego Buonanotte on the left wing created space for himself to get a cross into the Barca box.
Granada are drawing blanks when they get near the Barcelona box now, and do not look like equalising at the moment.
The visitors have completely changed the left side of their team over the course of the game here, as the South American duo of Alexis and Adriano have both been subbed off to be replaced by the two Spain internationals, Iniesta and Alba. The latter pair look far more comfortable playing together.
Barca made their third and final change just before Messi grabbed his second of the night, as Pedro made way for Iniesta.
Goal Lionel Messi
GOALLLLL!!! MESSI FIRES THE FREE KICK PAST TONO!! The Barca No. 10 curls the set piece up and over the Granada wall and past the despairing dive of Tono into the bottom left corner. Barca lead 2-1 with under 20 minutes to go.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
El-Arabi catches Thiago as the Barca midfielder drives at goal and the visitors now have a free kick in a nice position for a shot 30 yards out. Messi looks to be the man taking the set piece...
Nyom goes crashing into Alba on the right and the referee rightly shows the Granada full-back a yellow card for his behaviour. That was a late and quite dangerous challenge after Alba had already played the ball.
Yellow Card Allan Nyom
PEDRO HAS A GOAL CHALKED OFF FOR OFFSIDE!! The attacker really thinks he has scored on this occasion after tapping into an empty net following unselfish play from Alves, but the linesman on the near side has other ideas. Up goes his flag, so the score remains 1-1 much to Pedro's disdain.
PEDRO HITS THE INSIDE OF THE POST!! The Spain international comes within inches of giving Barcelona a 2-1 lead with a firmly-struck effort with his right foot from 20 yards. The ball bounced agonisingly off the left-hand post and across the goal without crossing the line.
STAT: Messi has scored nine goals in his last six Liga matches for Barca!
Off goes Alexis to be replaced by Cristian Tello. That was a change that seemed inevitable even from the first half. The Chilean's decline has been dramatic in recent months.
Alexis has to be testing Tono there!! The 24-year-old makes a complete hash of getting a shot away after being put clean through by Fabregas as he leaves the ball behind in mid-sprint. You would back any other player on the Barca team to force a save from the Granada goalkeeper from that position.
Youssef El Arabi
The Barca right-back then slightly overruns the ball inside the Granada box after racing onto a pristine Messi pass. Barcelona are restless here, they want a second goal to give them the lead.
Thiago works the ball out to Alves well on the right but the Brazil international's inswinging cross is hacked away by Mikel Rico.
An awful pass by Alexis prompts an angry shake of the head from Fabregas. It is no surprise that Iniesta is then told to warm up by Jordi Roura - Alexis has just not been good enough this evening.
As soon as Barca move Messi forward from that withdrawn position, they equalise. Yes, he can be a playmaker, but he is far more effective for the team finishing chances rather than creating them.
Goal Lionel Messi
MESSI SCORES HIS 300TH BARCA GOAL!! The away side have equalised through their record-breaking forward as he slots the ball past Tono from 8 yards after the Granada goalkeeper parried Fabregas's initial shot into his path.
It will be interesting to see how long Barcelona leave it before making a change if the scoreline remains the same. They do have Cristian Tello and Andres Iniesta on the bench.
We are back underway for the second half here at Los Carmenes..
Join me in 10 minutes for the second half!
HALF-TIME: GRANADA 1-0 BARCELONA Lucas Alcaraz's side continue to exceed expectations as they lead La Liga's 1st-placed side at the break thanks to a close-range finish from Ighalo. The visitors have dominated possession but have been impotent in front of goal so far.
45' + 2'
The referee blows his whistle to mark the end of the half.
45' + 1'
Chants of 'Ole' greet a spell of Granada possession at the end of the half. The home fans are loving life right now.
Thiago gives the ball away in a dangerous position for Barcelona but Aranda fails to make him pay as his weak shot is saved easily by Valdes.
Barca look to have sprung Granada's offside trap but the linesman on the far side raises his flag against Alexis to stop play. That was a very very tight call, and I think he may have got that wrong having just seen a replay. Inigo Lopez looked to be playing the former Udinese man onside.
Alves and Messi combine well again but the Brazilian's final pass back to the Argentine is overhit and the ball cannons off the Rosario-born forward's legs and out for a Granada goal kick.
Barca have made an early change here as Alba replaces Adriano at left-back. The Brazilian may have been withdrawn because he picked up an injury, but I think it's more likely that the substitution was made due to him being repeatedly rinsed by the duel threat of Nyom and Ighalo down Granada's right.
TONO SAVES WELL FROM MESSI!! The Granada goalkeeper thwarts the attacker with a smart stop at his near post after Thiago had dinked a through ball to the 24-year-old over the head of Mainz.
STAT: Barcelona have had 80% of possession in the first half, but trail 1-0.
The Argentine's strike is straight into the arms of Tono though, as the Granada goalkeeper catches the ball comfortably.
Messi lines up the free kick 35 yards from goal...
Yellow Card Guilherme Siqueira
SIQUEIRA SHOULD BE OFF!! The referee awards Pedro a free kick after he is hauled to the deck by the Granada left-back, yet despite Siqueira being the last man he is only shown a yellow card. If the ref thinks that is a foul he should be sending the defender off there.
Nolito is enjoying himself against his old employers. He has just nicked the ball off Busquets in midfield and sprayed a delightful pass out to Nyom on the right. The winger is on-loan at Granada from Benfica, but before moving to Portugal spent three years at Camp Nou between 2008-11.
STAT: Barcelona have conceded at least one goal in each of their last nine matches in all competitions.
ADRIANO BLAZES A SHOT JUST WIDE!! The Barca defender sends a swerving effort a yard or so wide of the top right-hand corner after the ball breaks kindly for him on the left side of the Granada box. That was not far away from being an equaliser for the visitors!
A few of the Barca players confronted the referee claiming Ighalo was offside when he diverted the ball into the net there, but he waves them away. Granada aren't complaining!
IGHALO HAS GIVEN GRANADA A SURPRISE LEAD!! Just seconds after Sanchez wastes a chance to score for Barcelona the home side go straight up the other end and score! Ighalo is on hand to smash the ball home from a matter of yards after being set up by a cushioned cross from former Barca man Nolito. 1-0 to Granada!
Messi is playing deeper than usual in the absence of Xavi and Iniesta and it is impacting on Barcelona's effectiveness in the final third. The Argentine is creating chances for his team-mates, but they are failing to finish them. If only he could pass to himself!
STAT: Granada have kept four clean sheets in their last five matches at Los Carmenes.
Fabregas wants a penalty after being sent tumbling to the floor inside the Granada box by Gabriel Torje's challenge but the referee ignores the Spaniard's protests and gestures for play to continue.
Thiago heads over from Alves' cross after the Brazilian full-back was allowed time and space to send a pass towards the penalty spot.
The away team are being uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal in this first half, with Alexis the latest in a succession of Blaugrana players to shank a shot off target. Having said that the Chile international has certainly got previous in that regard... Some of his performances in recent months have been questionable to say the least.
Messi has a chance to acrobatically volley home from close range but he fails to make contact with the ball after a cross was headed towards the back post by Fabregas. Barcelona are starting to work the ball into some very dangerous positions now.
THAT IS DISAPPOINTING FROM ADRIANO!! The Barcelona left-back hits a tame effort into the arms of Tono from the left side of the Granada box. He should really have passed there, the ball did not sit kindly for a first-time shot.
Barcelona, surprise suprise, are dominating possession in the opening minutes here. They have had 79% of it in the first quarter of an hour!
The record-breaking attacker dissects the Granada defence with a neat pass to Cesc Fabregas, but the former Gunner had strayed into an offside position which was spotted by the linesman on the far side.
STAT: Messi has scored in each of his last 13 matches in La Liga, netting an incredible 22 goals in that time.
Nyom is pushing high up the pitch for Granada from his right-back berth and Barcelona are struggling to deal with it at the moment. The powerful defender has certainly got the pace to cause Adriano problems tonight.
Nolito has a chance to score against his former side early on here but his side-footed effort from 15 yards is saved well down low by Victor Valdes. Ighalo had done brilliantly to find his team-mate with a curling cross from the right-hand side.
GREAT PLAY BY IGHALO!! The Granada forward drives at Adriano down the right for the home side and keeps the ball well from the left-back and Sergio Busquets before winning a throw-in.
MAGIC FROM MESSI!! The Argentine slips a super pass inside Nyom to Alexis Sanchez but the Chilean attacker cannot poke a finish past Tono who rushes from his goal-line to tighten the angle.
A desperate attempt to try and get him to do a U-turn on his decision to let his contract expire perhaps?
Barcelona's captain this evening, in the absence of Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta, is their goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
The ball quickly finds its way to Messi and he tries to slide a pass towards Pedro who is making a run into the Granada box but Guilherme Siqueira keeps his wits about him to step in and stop the move from developing.
Lionel Messi tees the ball off to Pedro in the centre circle to get his game started for Barcelona...
There is a minute's silence before the game starts, and it is impeccably observed by the players and both sets of fans.
The teams are making their way out and we are now mere minutes away from kick-off over in Granada.
Ahhhhh, Barcelona are wearing their Tequila Sunrise kit tonight. I would say that's great to see... but it's not. It is not a nice strip!
So the rested three for the visitors are Iniesta, Puyol and Alba. However, they are named as substitutes. Elsewhere Villa and Xavi miss out for the league leaders because of injury.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Thiago, Busquets, Cesc; Alexis, Messi, Pedro
Granada (4-2-3-1): Tono; Nyom, Inigo Lopez, Mainz, Siqueira; Recio, Rico; Torje, Aranda, Nolito; Ighalo
Nolito starts for Granada, which means he faces his old club, while Barcelona have chosen to rest a trio of important players with their Champions League fixture against Milan on the horizon. Both sides' starting XIs coming right up...
The home side will be hoping to claim another famous scalp this evening having beaten Real Madrid at this ground just two weeks ago, but they face a different beast in Barcelona, with Tito Vilanova's side dropping just seven points all season. Having said that they have drawn two of their last three games in all competitions...
As always I'll be available on the Twitter machine should you wish to get in touch at any point tonight. Just fire your thoughts over to @charliefscott and, you never know, they could well end up featuring in this commentary.
Good evening one and all, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Barcelona's Liga visit to Granada. My name is Charlie Scott and I will be your eyes and ears for the match tonight, bringing you potentially exciting updates from Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes as the game unfolds.
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