Luuk de Jong and Dani Alves looked bright, but Gavi’s recklessness hurt Barcelona as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Granada in La Liga on Saturday.

Coming into the game on the back of victories over RCD Mallorca and Linares Deportivo, Xavi Hernandez’s side were chasing another win to break into the top four in the league table. However, there was not much happening for them in a rather dour first half. Luuk de Jong put the ball into the back of the net early on with a fine header, but it was chalked off for offside in the buildup.

Granada, meanwhile, posed a threat on the break, with Darwin Machis even drawing a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen, as both teams went into the break with the scoreline intact. Twelve minutes into the second half, though, de Jong got his goal, as he rose high to head home Dani Alves’ precise cross to hand Barça the lead.

The hosts ramped up the pressure on the Blaugrana in pursuit of an equaliser. The Catalans showed signs of crumbling as Gavi, in a moment of recklessness, got sent off for a needless second booking in the 79th minute. Granada kept coming at their illustrious opponents and finally found a way through as Antonio Puertas produced a thunderous left-footed strike to make it 1-1 in the 89th minute.

It could have been 2-1 in favour of the Nazaries in stoppage time after ter Stegen sent a misplaced pass straight to Angel Montoro, but the German international just about managed to save the forward’s lobbed effort as the two teams ended up sharing the spoils. The result, coupled with Real Sociedad’s win over Celta Vigo, sees Barcelona slip to sixth place, although they are just a point below the fourth spot.

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Barcelona Player Ratings

Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10

The German international made a good stop from Machis in the first half and stopped Luis Milla in the second. However, there was not much he could do to deny Puertas. Almost cost his side the point with a pass straight to Montoro but saved the Granada substitute’s effort.

Dani Alves: 7/10

Making his first La Liga appearance for Barcelona after 2016, Alves rolled back the years with a fine display at right-back. The Brazilian got forward well and provided a regular attacking outlet while staying responsible defensively. He produced a fine cross for de jong to latch onto for the goal. Usually reliable at the back, there was one occasion when he gave the ball away in a dangerous area but redeemed himself with a good challenge.

Gerard Pique: 7/10

The veteran defender put in another solid shift at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Strong in the air and aggressive on the ground, Pique was at hand to cut out threats. However, he was lucky to avoid a second booking late in the second half, having already been booked.

Eric Garcia: 6/10

Getting the nod due to the injury-enforced absence of Ronald Araujo, the Spanish international was largely composed on the evening, even though there were one or two iffy moments. Mostly assured in possession before being taken off with an injury early in the second half.

Jordi Alba: 6/10

Not at his best, as Jordi Alba failed to provide the usual level of attacking intent down the left flank. The veteran star looked like he was not at his sharpest, fitness-wise, and seemed to tire out as the game wore on.

Nico Gonzalez: 7/10

The La Masia graduate enjoyed a steady outing at Los Carmenes as he looked assured on the ball, trying to drive the team forward and play incisive passes to break open the Granada defence. Nico also worked hard off the ball when needed.

Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10

There were one or two occasions when the hosts’ counters caught out the Barcelona captain, but he was largely solid at the base of the midfield. Busquets kept things ticking along nicely enough and made some key interventions. Perhaps, he could have been a bit more imaginative and purposeful with his passing at times.

Gavi: 4/10

Back into the side after recovering from Covid, the 17-year-old was lively from the get-go. Gavi produced a lovely cross for de Jong to score in the first half but had strayed slightly offside. But his inexperience showed on the night as he was booked for an unnecessary scythe on Darwin Machis in the first half. He then brought down Barcelona loanee Alex Collado with another reckless challenge, leading to the second booking and his sending off.

Ousmane Dembele: 6.5/10

Back into the starting XI after impressing in the cup tie in midweek, the Frenchman had his moments when he ran at the Granada defence at full speed to cause some problems. He backed himself to have a go at goal whenever possible and tried to fashion chances for his teammates, but not everything that he tried came off.

Luuk de Jong: 7/10

Back into the side after serving out a suspension, the Netherlands international provided a focal point at the top. The Dutchman produced a good header to turn Gavi’s cross into the back of the net, but the goal did not stand as the midfielder was marginally offside. Did well to lose his marker and head home Alves’ cross to hand Barcelona the lead after the break. Has now scored twice in two league games.

Ferran Jutgla: 5/10

The match-winner in midweek, Ferran Jutgla, failed to get going on the night at Los Carmenes. He never really posed a goal threat, while his link-up play was also not at its sharpest. He made way for Ez Abde at the hour mark.

SUBSTITUTES

Clement Lenglet: 6/10

Replaced the injured Garcia early in the second half. Steady for the most part, but was booked.

Ez Abde: 5.5/10

On for Jutgla in the 61st minute. Lively, saw an effort go inches wide. Booked.

Memphis Depay: 5/10

He made his comeback from injury, replacing compatriot de Jong in the 61st minute. He offered very little threat and was booked.

Alvaro Sanz: N/A

Subbed on in place of Dembele after Gavi’s sending off as the manager sought more control in midfield.

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