Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann were minor positives while Sergi Roberto was disastrous as Barcelona were beaten 2-1 by Granada.
Barcelona dominated the proceedings from the word go, but chances did not really flow freely in the early exchanges. The hosts, though, went ahead with a brilliant goal midway through the first half, as Lionel Messi scored from close range after being set up by Antoine Griezmann.
A few minutes later, Messi had the chance to double his and his side’s advantage, only to shoot narrowly wide, as the first half ended 1-0 in Barcelona’s favour. Post the interval, though, it all went on to unravel for Barcelona. While the Blaugrana still hogged the ball for much of the final 45 minutes, a couple of moments of sloppy defending would seal their fate.
Granada scored from their only two shots on target, with Darwin Machis equalising just past the hour mark before Jorge Molina headed in from Adrian Marin’s cross in the 79th minute. Barcelona did not manage a way back into the game thereafter, as Granada claimed their first ever win at Camp Nou. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ronald Koeman’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Hardly made to sweat in the first half, with Barcelona thoroughly in control. In fact, ter Stegen did not have to make a single save in the game and could not have done anything to keep out the efforts by Darwin Machis and Jorge Molina. Misplaced just one of his 20 attempted passes.
Oscar Mingueza: 5/10
For large parts of the game, Mingueza mostly had to think about ball progression, with Granada barely threatening. However, he was caught out of position when Machis netted the equaliser, and even though Sergi Roberto was more to be blamed than him, the youngster ought to have done better on his part. Taken off for Ousmane Dembele with nearly 20 minutes left.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
There were one or two nervy moments for Pique, whose lack of pace was exposed, albeit not in a brutal manner. Otherwise, though, the veteran Barcelona defender pretty much held his own and kept the backline organised to keep the Granada attack at bay for much of the proceedings. Not to be directly blamed for either of the goals that Barcelona conceded.
Samuel Umtiti: 5/10
A surprise starter in the Barcelona defence, Umtiti showed some sloppiness off the ball. However, on the defensive front, the Frenchman was largely unfazed and did well to keep his marker at bay for the most part, although he could have perhaps done better to thwart Molina for the second goal that Granada scored.
Sergi Roberto: 3/10
Back in the starting lineup in place of Sergino Dest, it was a disastrous performance by Roberto, who, despite seeing a lot of the ball and being a constant outlet down the right flank, failed to make any sort of impact whatsoever. Defensively, he was woeful, losing his man in the build-up to each of the two goals that Granada scored. Will surely be back on the bench next time out.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Along with Sergio Busquets, de Jong played a major role in pushing Granada back for the most part and boasted of a game-high 6 key passes. Showed some fine link-up play higher up the pitch, particularly with Antoine Griezmann. Alas, in the end, it was not enough for Barcelona to grab even one point, let alone three.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
A typically efficient performance by Busquets, who was instrumental in ensuring the Barcelona were on top of Granada all through the game. Deserved an assist when he released Lionel Messi with a peach of a long ball, only for the Barcelona captain to miss the target. There were one or two sloppy moments, but all in all, it was a professional display, with Busquets being solid off the ball.
Ilaix Moriba: 6/10
Starting ahead of Pedri, Moriba looked eager to make an impression and did just that despite being a tad bit wasteful on the ball due to being a little overzealous. Showed some budding chemistry with Messi, although he saw less of the ball as the game progressed. However, he did put in the hard yards off the ball, completing 3 tackles and an interception.
Jordi Alba: 5/10
As ever, Alba was a constant outlet down the left flank for Barcelona. This time around, though, his end product left a fair bit to be desired, with the veteran Spaniard failing to complete even one of his six attempted crosses. Constantly left Umtiti with too much to do when covering for him and the fact that his creative boots were missing only added to the frustration.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
27 – No player has been involved in more goals in the Top 5 European Leagues since the start of 2021 than @FCBarcelona´s Leo Messi (27 goals: 19 goals and 8 assists). Stellar. pic.twitter.com/JQPY6KplkJ
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 29, 2021
There simply is no stopping Messi in 2021, and the Barcelona captain produced a superb finish from close range to put his side ahead following a give-and-go with Antoine Griezmann. However, Messi should have doubled his tally ahead of half-time when released by Busquets, which would ultimately prove to be telling for Barcelona when they spiralled out of control in the second half.
Antoine Griezmann: 7/10
There is this swagger that Griezmann is playing with once again and that was evident on Thursday against Granada, most notably when he produced a brilliant turn and touch before setting Messi up for the opener. Continued to carry a threat as the game progressed, linking up superbly with Messi and de Jong.
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
A bundle of energy after being introduced in place of Mingueza, Dembele tried to make things happen in the final 20 minutes or so, but could not spark a turnaround for Barcelona after Molina scored the second Granada goal.
On for Moriba, Pedri, who the Player to Watch in our preview did not carry a lot of influence in the final quarter of the game or so. In need of some actual rest.
Francisco Trincao: N/A
A late introduction, Trincao did not have enough time to make an impact.