Ronald Koeman is SENT OFF as Barcelona miss their chance to go top of LaLiga despite Lionel Messi netting his 26th league goal of the season as Granada come from behind to claim their first LaLiga victory at the Nou Camp
- Barcelona missed the chance to go top of LaLiga after a surprise home defeat
- Messi combined with Griezmann before slotting into the far corner for first goal
- Machis netted second-half equaliser before sub Molina headed home the winner
- Barca manager Ronald Koeman was sent off after the first of Granada’s goals
Ronald Koeman was red-carded and Barcelona were left red-faced as they blew their big chance to go top of LaLiga by throwing away a one goal lead at the Camp Nou and falling to a 2-1 defeat against Granada.
Koeman was sent to the stands in the second half after the first of the two Granada goals went in.
He spent the last 20 minutes in desperate phone conversation with his number two Alfred Schreuder but multiple changes barely put a dent in Granada’s stubborn resistance. Koeman will now be banned from the touchline for Sunday’s game with Valencia.
Lionel Messi scored but Barcelona failed to make up ground in the LaLiga title race
Ronald Koeman was sent off after the first of Granada’s goals after a supposed outburst
The Dutchman was sat in the stands but could only watch on as his side surrendered the lead
‘The referee’s report said I disrespected the fourth official but that is not true,’ Koeman said.
Asked about missing the next game he added: ‘I don’t know if it will affect the team but it certainly will affect me. If I have used ugly words then I take the punishment but it was not like that.’
Looking ahead to the run-in he added: ‘This is a massive blow and now Sunday’s game is vitally important we have to respond. No one has easy games left.’
Barcelona have not been top all season but when Lionel Messi scored his 26th league goal of the campaign the game only seemed to be heading one way.
Yet a sloppy second half saw them concede two goals on the break with 39-year-old forward Jorge Molina scoring the winning goal 11 minutes from time.
Barcelona stay third behind Real Madrid on head-to-head goal difference. That means that the league is no longer in their hands.
They can finish above Atletico Madrid if they win their last five matches, including one against Diego Simeone’s side, in 10 days, but Real Madrid could still finish above them by winning all their matches.
Messi watches on as the visitors celebrate after levelling the scores in the 63rd minute
Machis fired the ball home after Oscar Mingueza failed to cut out Luis Suarez’s through ball
Messi scored on 23 minutes after a brilliant assist from Antoine Griezmann spinning away from Victor Diaz and playing the ball into the number 10. The angle was difficult but no so much so that Messi couldn’t dispatch it past Aaron Escandell.
Messi could have made it two but Escandell got a glove on his shot to put it wide and Barcelona allowed Granada to get to half time still very much in the game and threatening plenty on the break through Roberto Soldado, Luis Suarez and Darwin Machis.
The second half was one of Barcelona’s worst of the season. They have picked up 57 points from a possible 66 but they dropped three huge ones at the worst possible time.
‘This was a unique chance to go top and to have our fate in our own hands but we couldn’t take it. It’s a massive blow,’ said Jordi Alba. ‘They had two chances in the second period and put them both away.’
First came Barcelona’s chances to put the result beyond doubt. Ilaix Moriba pulled the ball back for Griezmann but his right-footed curler went just wide. Then Sergio Busquets found Messi and he played the ball out to Frenkie De Jong who crossed for Sergio Roberto. The right-back could not guide his volley on goal.
The Argentine can’t hide his disappointment after Jorge Molina scored their second goal
Barca coach Ronald Koeman in the stand after being sent off by ref Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes
Barça paid for not taking those chances in the most dramatic fashion. First Suarez spun away from Samuel Umtiti and fed Darwin Machis who sprinted beyond Oscar Minugeza and Sergio Roberto to score past Ter Stegen.
Then came the killer blow.
Adrian Marin had been brought on to offer some protection to Granada left wing back Quini but he found himself in left wing territory and he put the ball on Molina’s head. The veteran glanced it past Ter Stegen and suddenly Barcelona needed two goals to win the game.
Pique spent the remainder of the match as an auxiliary centre-forward and Ter Stegen went forward for the last free-kick but Messi’s set-piece sailed into Escandell’s arms and referee Pablo Gonzalez blew for time.
Granada celebrated, so did supporters of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, Spain’s four-horse title race is far from over.