Nineteenth-place Granada have lost their last three in the league to drop deeper into trouble, and they are now eight points from the safety of 17th position.

          Barcelona,  meanwhile, have dropped five points behind league leaders Real Madrid after the Madrid giants beat Alaves 3-0 yesterday. 

     Granada have only won one of their last 19 La Liga matches against Barcelona – losing 17 times in the process and conceding 50 goals. Barcelona recorded a 3-0 victory when they traveled to this stadium last term, but just one goal separated the two teams at Camp Nou in the reverse league match earlier this season, with Rafinha scoring the winner just three minutes into the second period.

     Granada did beat Barcelona 1-0 in this stadium during the 2013-14 La Liga season, however, when Yacine Brahimi scored the only goal of the match. Granada have only netted once in their five league games with the Catalan giants since then though and history suggests that yesterday was a battle.

     Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from the Estadio Nuevo los Carmenes. The majority of Barcelona's squad have been away on international action over the last couple of weeks, but Granada have had time to rest and recuperate. Will that make a difference in this match? Only time will tell. Let's have a look at the two XIs that will start...

  Moroccan midfielder Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez is sidelined for Granada after picking up an injury on international duty, but Colombian striker Adrian Ramos is back on the bench after recovering from a muscular problem. On-loan Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira continues in an attacking role for the hosts, while Artem Kravets is picked to lead the line ahead of Jeremie Boga, who drops to the bench.

Barcelona are without the services of Lionel Messi yesterday through suspension, while Gerard Pique is left out altogether ahead of a busy run of fixtures for the Spanish champions. Jeremy Mathieu is back from an ankle problem to start alongside Javier Mascherano at the heart of the away side's defence, however, and Rafinha is selected in the final third alongside Luis Suarez and Neymar.


    Barcelona's long unbeaten run in La Liga came to an end when they lost 2-1 away to Deportivo La Coruna on March 12. They responded with a 4-2 win over Valencia last time out, but Luis Enrique's side have work to do if they are to retain the Spanish title. If Real Madrid win their spare match, the gap will be five points on the same number of games, which is a big space in this league.
    In addition to the small matter of a two-legged Champions League quarter-final with Juventus later this month, Barcelona have some massive league fixtures. They will welcome third-place Sevilla to Camp Nou on Wednesday night, and also face a trip to Real Madrid on April 24. In order to stand a chance of retaining the title, Enrique's side will surely need to collect all three points from the Bernabeu.
      Barcelona have the best away record in La Liga this season – collecting 30 points from their 14 matches, recording nine wins in the process. They are also the top scorers in the league on 81 goals and have conceded just 25 times. Their goals record actually much better than Real Madrid's, but points make prizes and Los Blancos have found a way to win tight games this season.
     Barcelona might well be beaten to the La Liga title this season, but they are still alive in the Champions League, while they will face Alaves in the final of the Copa del Rey next month. It could yet be a brilliant campaign for Enrique's side, although it could end with just the Copa del Rey crown, which would not be enough to make the supporters or indeed the president content.
     As for Granada, Lucas Alcaraz's side are battling to survive in La Liga. The Andalusian side have not been out of the top flight of Spanish football since 2011, but they currently sit 19th in the table on 19 points – eight points behind 17th-place Leganes. It is not quite a terminal situation, but Granada have to start picking up points before it becomes too late to act, and that point is approaching.
     Four wins, seven draws and 17 defeats demonstrate Granada's struggles in the league this season, and they will enter this match off the back of three successive losses – the last of which was a 3-1 defeat at Sporting Gijon before the international break. That said, Granada have actually won three of their last four league matches on home soil, which will be a confidence-booster ahead of this match.
   They have also only conceded 14 home goals this season, which is up there with the best defensive records in the whole division. While there are signs of life at home, it has been a different story on the road, where the Andalusian side have failed to win and lost 12 of their 15 matches. If they are to survive in La Liga this season, then you feel that the points will have to come on home soil.


0 minute : KICKOFF! Granada kick things off on home soil...

    It is said that it is a beautiful night for a game of football, while the stadium is full of noise with Barcelona in town. You just get the feeling that Granada cannot afford to concede the first goal in this match if they are to stand a chance of securing a positive result against the champions.

4 minutes :   Possession football from Barcelona as they pass and probe in the final third of the field, with Suarez just camping on the last line of the Granada defence. The centre-forward collects a long ball from Rakitic as he threatens for the first time, but the offside flag comes to Granada's rescue.

6 minutes :  Not an awful lot to report in terms of serious attacking intent in the opening six minutes of this match, but there is no question that Barcelona have settled in terms of passing the football.

7 minutes :  SAVE! Neymar slides a super pass into Suarez and the striker looks to poke the ball past Ochoa, but the Mexican goalkeeper is out very quickly to smother the ball. Good save!

9 minutes :  Andre Gomes seems to be playing as one of Barcelona's three attackers tonight, which is quite strange, but Enrique must have seen something in the Portuguese to suggest that he can operate in that position. Still one-way traffic in this match as the visitors continue to threaten.

11 minutes :  Granada attempt to make ground down the right through Foulqueir, but Alba is across to make a smart challenge and Barcelona eventually clear their lines. Suarez looks to turn away from Lomban down the other end, but the number six absolutely wrestles the striker to the ground.

14 minutes :  Just a reminder that Barcelona currently sit five points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid on the same number of matches. Only a win will do for the away side tonight as they look to close the gap, but Granada have just started to cause some problems with a period of advanced possession.

16 minutes :  Neymar looks to have a problem for Barcelona as he continues to hold his right foot. It looked like an issue with his footwear, but it does appear that the problem is with that right foot.

17 minutes :  BARCELONA SUB! Alcacer replaces Rafinha for Barcelona.

18 minutes :  Half-chance for Barcelona as Rakitic picks out Neymar with a deep cross following a quick move, but the Brazilian can only guide the ball over the crossbar. Neymar does not look overly happy at the moment as he continues to wince, which would be a massive blow for Barcelona.

24 minutes :  CROSSBAR! Barcelona come close to making the breakthrough as Neymar drives into the Granada box before finding Suarez, and the striker sends a clever effort straight against the crossbar! Neymar finishes the rebound, but the Brazilian was in an offside position.

27 minutes :  SAVES! Oh my word! Two wonderful saves from Ochoa in quick succession as the Mexican keeps out Suarez's first powerful strike, before denying the striker with an even better save from close range moments later. Excellent stuff from the home side's goalkeeper here!

28 minutes :  BOOKING! Roberto (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Silva.

36 minutes :  Mathieu's first touch is awful and had it been better, the Barcelona centre-back would have had a clear shooting chance inside the Granada box after a brilliant free kick from Neymar.

37 minutes :  Luis suarez  looks to meet a knockdown from Neymar, but the Barcelona forward is held off by Silva and Granada survive yet another dangerous moment. Not sure how this game is still 0-0!

38 minutes : CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Mathieu once again as Neymar delivers a sensational free kick into the Granada box, but the centre-back just cannot make contact!

40 minutes :  Well, Granada are almost there in terms of this first period, but Barcelona really should be two or three goals ahead at this stage. Luis Suarez has had a couple of massive chances already here.

43 minutes :  Barcelona want a free kick just outside the Granada box as Wakasao brings Rakitic to the deck, but the referee is not interested. The pressure continues, however, as approach the interval.

44 minutes :  Rakitic slides a pass into Neymar and the Brazilian looks to round the home side's goalkeeper, but the offside flag was raised, and Ochoa actually managed to make another really good save.

44 minutes :  GOAL! Granada 0-1 Barcelona (Suarez)

45 minutes :  What a special goal that is. Suarez could have had a hat-trick in this first period, but he finally makes the breakthrough as he meets a super ball from Alba before chipping Ochoa, who decided to come and face the centre-forward. It is a wonderful finish from the Uruguay international!

45 min+1:  HALF-TIME: Granada 0-1 Barcelona

46 minutes : RESTART! Barcelona resume the action...

47 minutes :   GRANADA SUB! Boga has replaced Angban for the home side at the break.

47 minutes :  SAVE! Ochoa has to get down and keep out a strike from Alcacer after the Barcelona forward had been released by Mascherano inside the Granada box!

49 minutes :  I am struggling to see how Granada can get back into this football match. The home side just cannot seem to get hold of the ball as Barcelona continue to pass and probe in the final third. It does seem only a matter of time before the Spanish champions double their lead in Andalusia.

50 minutes :  GOAL! Granada 1-1 Barcelona (Boga)

51 minutes : Game on! Granada level the scores in the 50th minute of this match as Saunier releases Boga with a wonderful pass and the substitute races into the Barcelona box before finding the bottom corner!

53 minutes : Suddenly we have a game on our hands in Andalusia as Barcelona go searching for their second of the night after being stunned by that equaliser. Granada had nothing in the first period of this match, but one pass beat the Barcelona defence and it was a super finish from Boga.

55 minutes :  GRANADA SUB! Ramos replaces Kravets for the home side.

59 minutes :  A poor punch from Ochoa puts his team in trouble, but Barcelona cannot capitalise on the loose ball as Roberto scuffs his effort. Suarez then looks to wriggle free inside the Granada box, but Hector is on hand to close the door. It remains 1-1 entering the final 30 minutes of action here.

59 minutes : BOOKING! Lomban (Granada) is booked for a rash tackle on Suarez.

60 minutes :  BOOKING! Alba (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Boga.

62 minutes :  This is a very uncomfortable game for Barcelona at the moment as Granada continue to pick up little free kicks and slow the tempo. Still a lot of football to be played in this match though.

64 minutes : GOAL! Granada 1-2 Barcelona (Alcacer)

65 minutes : Barcelona regain the lead as Suarez lifts a brilliant pass into the path of Alcacer, and the Spaniard shows excellent composure to beat the onrushing Ochoa. The visitors are back ahead here!

68 minutes :  BARCELONA SUB! Iniesta replaces Gomes for Barcelona.

77 minutes :  Former Barcelona attacker Cuenca is waiting to enter the field for Granada here.

78 minutes :  BOOKING! Rakitic (Barcelona) is booked for dissent

79 minutes :  GRANADA SUB! Cuenca replaces Silva for the home side.

79 minutes :  BOOKING! Agbo (Granada) is booked following a tussle with Neymar. 

80 minutes :  A loose pass from Mathieu puts Barcelona in trouble and Boga shows his incredible pace in the final third, but the away side's French defender manages to get back and make the clearance.

82 minutes :  Still time for Granada to grab a late equaliser here, and it is Pereira leading their challenge as the on-loan Manchester United attacker continues to show his excellent feet in tight positions.

82 minutes :  RED CARD!

83 minutes :  Granada are down to 10 men as Agbo picks up his second yellow card for pulling Alba, who looked to be breaking into the home side's half of the field. No choice for the referee!

83 minutes :  GOAL! Granada 1-3 Barcelona (Rakitic)

84 minutes :  Barcelona have their third of the night as Suarez pokes the ball towards Rakitic, and the Croatian's effort deflects into the bottom corner of the net. That is game, set and match here!

86 minutes :  SAVE! Ochoa has to keep out a close-range effort from Neymar after Lomban decided to dribble round the Brazilian. Not sure what the centre-back had in mind there!

87 minutes :  BARCELONA SUB! Alena replaces Rakitic for Barcelona.

89 minutes :  Alcacer has a half-chance to score his second of the night for the away side, but the Spain international scuffs his effort from a corner as Granada survive conceding a fourth goal here.

90 minutes :  SAVE! Ter Stegen keeps out Boga's close-range strike!

90 min+1 :  GOAL! Granada 1-4 Barcelona (Neymar)

90 min+2 :  It is four for Barcelona as Alcacer delivers a brilliant cross into the Granada box and Neymar is on hand to volley into the back of the net. The overall scoreline is tough on Granada.

90 min+2 :  POST! Neymar rattles the post with a low effort!

90 min+3 : FULL-TIME: Granada 1-4 Barcelona 

    So there we have it. Barcelona put four past 10-man Granada in Andalusia as the Spanish champions return to within two points of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga. The race continues in Spain! 




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