Antoine Griezmann and Jordi Alba were phenomenal as Barcelona came from behind to beat Granada 5-3 and reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Both sides had a few half-chances in the first half an hour or so, although neither goalkeeper was really troubled in the initial stages of the game. The deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute when Kenedy scored from close range after Samuel Umtiti had given the ball away to Alberto Soro. Barcelona then pushed forward in search of an equaliser but went into half-time a goal down.
Moments into the second period, Barcelona’s predicament worsened, as Roberto Soldado, who unleashed a fine run after being released by Angel Montoro before beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Barcelona then dominated the proceedings for the most part but had to wait till the 88th minute to pull a goal back, as Antoine Griezmann scored from point-blank range after receiving the ball from Lionel Messi.
Griezmann then turned provider, as he headed Messi’s long pass to the path of Jordi Alba, who levelled things up moments before the completion of the regulation period to send the game into extra-time. The next goal came from Barcelona again, with Alba setting up Griezmann this time, but Granada made it 3-3 shortly after as Fede Vico converted from the spot.
Barcelona, though, had the last laugh, as Frenkie de Jong and Alba scored in quick succession, with Messi and Griezmann involved again. Having made it 5-3 late on, Barcelona held on to get past a spirited Granada and book their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ronald Koeman’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
A frustrating evening for ter Stegen, who did not really have much of a chance to stop any of the three goals that Granada scored. The Barcelona goalkeeper was hardly called into action otherwise, although he did make one decent stop. Precise as ever with the ball at his feet.
Sergi Roberto: 6/10
Back into the starting lineup, Roberto had a hit-and-miss outing. The Spanish international did not keep up with Kenedy in the lead-up to the first Granada goal. The rest of his outing, though, saw him spend a lot of time in the final third, linking up well with Lionel Messi, before being taken off with another injury.
Ronald Araujo: 5/10
Like much of the Barcelona defence, Araujo should have done better when Granada stunned their visitors. Indeed, the youngster was caught ball watching before Kenedy broke the deadlock and he also made another uncharacteristic error. Hardly troubled as the game wore on, though. However, he should have scored on the other end, when receiving the pass from Messi in set-pieces.
Samuel Umtiti: 4/10
With Koeman choosing a strong lineup, Umtiti made another start at the heart of the Barcelona defence. This game, however, was one to forget for the Frenchman, who lost the ball for the first goal that Granada scored before losing the foot race to Soldado for the hosts’ second. Back to the drawing board.
Jordi Alba: 9.5/10
GOLAZO JORDI ALBA 💥
A stunning left foot volley! pic.twitter.com/e9udAJsoKb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 3, 2021
With Barcelona on top for the most part, Alba was not too troubled defensively, although he still won 4 duels. Kept pushing Barcelona forward and was almost exclusively camped in the Granada half for the final hour of the game. Made the difference in the end, showing superb awareness to get on the end of Antoine Griezmann’s nodded effort.
Alba then turned provider for Griezmann with a fine pass before scoring a wondrous strike late on to round off the win. Just a top-class performer on his day and his growing chemistry with Antoine Griezmann bodes well for Barcelona, who can add another dimension to their attacking forays.
Frenkie de Jong: 9/10
Frenkie de Jong might not have managed many memorable creative moments in the game, but he kept things ticking and linking up smartly with Messi to ensure that the chances kept on being engineered. Put in the hard yards off the ball as well, winning 6 duels in addition to completing 3 interceptions and 2 tackles. Capped off a fine display with a smart finish after reaching the rebound from Messi’s strike.
De Jong : "When it was 2-1, they got a little nervous and we took advantage of it." pic.twitter.com/S6TSKMtCJy
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 3, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
A decent enough performance by Busquets, whose presence for the first hour of the game ensured that Granada did not have many opportunities deep into the Barcelona half. However, he had to be sacrificed for Riqui Puig, as Barcelona sought a comeback win.
Along with the likes of Messi, Alba and de Jong, Pedri was heavily involved in the proceedings, with 112 touches on the ball. The young prodigy delivered a couple of key passes as well while boasting a fine passing rate of 95 per cent, having completed 96 of the 101 passes he attempted. Not too creative this time around, but Pedri’s excellence on the ball ensured Barcelona remained on top.
Francisco Trincao: 7/10
Another day that Trincao does not have a goal to show for his efforts. This time around, though, the Portuguese international came as close as he ever has to finding the back of the net, with a fiercely driven shot rattling the crossbar. Linked up well with Messi and Griezmann while playing in 3 key passes as well.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Lionel Messi recorded the 300th assist of his professional career today 🧙♂️ pic.twitter.com/XmOTLWSQKC
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 4, 2021
For large parts of the game, Messi was the embodiment of Barcelona’s frustrations, as he kept on trying to carve out the openings. In fact, the Barcelona captain played a staggering 10 key passes and even though he managed to grab just one assist out of those moments, he was a big reason why Barcelona kept aiming shot after shot at the Granada goal.
Messi set Griezmann up for the first goal that Barcelona scored with a delightful long pass towards the back-post. Another such pass was again met by Griezmann, who this time set up the goal for Alba. Then, late in the game, it was a shot by Messi that was spilled by Aaron Escandell before de Jong scored his side’s fourth. Just phenomenal.
Antoine Griezmann: 9.5/10
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 3, 2021
Griezmann, like many of his Barcelona teammates, was a little slow off the blocks and endured a frustrating night for the most part while also losing the ball for the second Granada goal. Came close to scoring a spectacular goal from a bicycle kick before actually finding the back of the net late on from Messi’s long pass.
Shortly after, the Frenchman smartly nodded another Messi pass towards Alba for the equaliser and send the game into extra-time. Griezmann then put Barcelona ahead with a smart finish, but the standout moment was his clever outside-of-the-boot pass towards Alba, who finished off the move with an equally brilliant strike. Is slowly getting back to his very best levels.
11 – @FCBarcelona's Antoine Griezmann 🇫🇷 has been involved in 11 goals in 2021 (6 goals and 5 assists), more than any other @LaLigaEN player sine the start of the year (goal and assist in the last 5 mins against Granada). Heroic. pic.twitter.com/aBjjnEE8wC
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 3, 2021
Sergino Dest: 6/10
On for the injured Roberto, Dest largely camped himself in the Granada half, as Barcelona heaped the pressure on their hosts. Delivered as many as 4 key passes while being a constant outlet down the right flank, but also conceded the penalty that was converted by Vico for the third Granada goal.
Ousmane Dembele: 7/10
Sent on in place of Trincao, Dembele provided the forward thrust from the right flank and was quite heavily involved in the final hour of the game. The Frenchman created 4 chances and even hit the woodwork while constantly looking to make things happen. Not involved directly in any of the goals, but did create a major impact.
Martin Braithwaite: 5/10
On for Umtiti just past the hour mark. Braithwaite, though, hardly got in on the action despite spending nearly an hour on the pitch. The Dane touched the ball just 10 times, which is shocking considering Barcelona’s dominance in the latter stages of the game.
Riqui Puig: 7/10
On for Busquets, Puig’s arrival helped push Barcelona forward, with the youngster providing a greater creative impetus. Indeed, Puig saw a lot of the ball and despite his creative outlook, he only misplaced 2 of the 70 passes he attempted while also creating one chance.
Clement Lenglet: N/A
On for the final 15 minutes or so, Lenglet kept things simple at the back and helped see the game out.