FC Barcelona came within a whisker of embarrassment in their 13th La Liga home game: The Catalans were held to a 3-3 draw by penultimate-placed Granada. Marc-André ter Stegen had imagined his comeback after a three-month break very differently
In a major interview during the week, Lewandowski refused to bury his dream of the championship just yet. However, with the club now ten points behind arch-rivals Real Madrid after the 24th matchday, this goal no longer seems very realistic. Especially in view of Barcelona’s performance in the disappointing 3-3 draw against promoted Granada.
The first piece of good news came before kick-off: Three months after his back surgery, ter Stegen was back between the posts for Barcelona and even wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Sergi Roberto.
And the German international keeper saw Gündogan almost have the first big chance after nine minutes and a fine chipped pass from Lewandowski. He was then allowed to celebrate the lead after 14 minutes: Joao Cancelo crossed accurately to Lamine Yamal, which the 16-year-old used to score his second La Liga goal – 1:0.
ManUnited loanee Pellistri fails – and then scores
However, this did not bring any real security to the Catalans’ play, who subsequently made a number of inaccuracies – including one from ter Stegen. In the 41st minute, 2:0 was in the air, but after a dream combination, Hongla saved on the line against Lewandowski. Granada equalized on the counterattack: Man United loanee Pellistri played in the Barcelona-educated Ricard, whose powerful shot under the crossbar fooled ter Stegen (43′).
The home side went into the half-time whistles were clearly audible. The first approach after the break came from Lewandowski, but his left-footed shot revealed the Pole’s problems with his weaker foot (53′). Shortly afterwards, Pellistri was denied by ter Stegen (57), only to beat the DFB keeper just three minutes later: After a mistake by Cubarsi, Uzuni crossed and Pellistri slotted home to make it 2:1 for Granada (60′).
Barcelona’s furious response was not long in coming, as Gündogan played a fine pass to teammate Lewandowski – and this time the Pole finished with ice-cold precision (63′). This wild phase was not over yet, however, as Granada took the lead again in the 66th minute: Maouassa crossed sensitively to the head of Ignasi Miquel, who beat ter Stegen for the third time that evening
Xavi switches offensively – Lamine Yamal again and again
The home side now had to invest more and coach Xavi also made offensive changes. One minute after the supposed 3:3 from Joker Fermin was rightly disallowed due to an offside call by Inigo Martinez (79′), the equalizer was scored – thanks to Lamine Yamal. The left-footer stole the ball off the foot of the 21-year-old José Callejon and thundered it low into the near corner from a half-right position in front of the penalty area (80′).
Granada almost made it 4:3 on the counter-attack, but this time ter Stegen saved brilliantly from Uzuni (82′). Lamine Yamal initiated the last two dangerous moves of the game, but first his cross flew just past the left post (90′), then Joker Guiu headed his cross to the right (90.+1).
Barcelona will have until next Saturday (6.30pm) to get their act together, when they travel to Celta Vigo – followed by the first leg of the round of 16 tie at SSC Napoli on February 21. Granada are seven points adrift of the drop zone but will be looking to build on their performance in Catalonia.