Granada 1 vs 2 Barcelona
Neymar and Suarez link up, with a rabona pass over the top gathered up by Ochoa. Barcelona continue to try and force the issue and change the tempo of their attacks, but Granada’s bullish tenacity is serving them well so far. Neymar is fed in behind Saunier, but Ochoa smothers the ball ahead of the Brazilian.
Wakaso gives a free-kick away for a rough tackle on Rakitic, with the Granada midfielder needing to be careful not to pick up a yellow card. Neymar whips a delivery into the box from deep on the right-hand side, but a delicious ball narrowly escapes Mathieu!
Mathieu is the target of a free-kick delivery from the left flank, but the Frenchman miscontrols terribly and the chance evaporates as quickly as it arrived. Moments later, Alba is fed to the left byline and cuts a cross back, but it comes to nothing, before a second delivery from the same wing evades Suarez cruelly.
Suarez is fed into the penalty area, and manages to wriggle into space. He stabs a low finish towards the bottom-right corner, but Ochoa makes a good save with his legs. The Barcelona striker is claiming that he was tugged down in the process – but the referee isn’t interested.
Neymar is picked out on the left-hand side and he dances infield, before gifting possession away. Granada are keeping it tight and congested in the centre of the field, ensuring that Barcelona have to be looking constantly wide and in behind for inspiration. Alcaraz’s game plan is working thus far.
Luis Suarez is picked out by a scooped pass over the top, before forcing Ochoa to make a save low down to his left – but yet again the Uruguayan is caught offside. The hosts are holding their line well and forcing Barcelona to take risks in their build-up play.
Suarez and Neymar combine, with the former chipping a clipped effort onto the underside of the crossbar. His Brazilian teammate is first to react and tucks home a finish from the rebound, but he was caught way offside. Nearly a breakthrough for Barcelona, and they’re getting closer.
Barcelona calm things down and start to play at their own pace, with the likes of Rafinha, Suarez and Neymar finding pockets of space in between the lines already. The latter stabs a low pass into the penalty area for Suarez to chase, but Ochoa is quick off his line to smother ahead of the ex-Groningen striker.
Rafinha tries to burst into the penalty area for the visitors, but Saunier steps out well to make a good interception. Alcaraz is very animated on the touchline, with the hosts rushing forward to try and press high. The problem is, their midfield aren’t following their forward players too closely, so Barcelona can break the press quite easily.
Granada try to be positive and forward thinking from the very start, with Alcaraz’s introduction having at least instilled a bit of personality and character into this side. Barcelona quickly look to retain possession and calm things down, however, as Luis Enrique’s men will want to play this game at their own pace. Suarez has the first chance, but is denied by the offside flag.
We are underway in the first half in Andalucia! Granada are desperate for another home win, as they can’t afford to keep dropping points at home at the business end of the season.