Barcelona, Apr 29 (EFE).- The names of Darwin Machis and Jorge Molina will be etched into the minds of Granada supporters after Thursday’s 1-2 victory over Barcelona, who looked set to go top of LaLiga on the strength of Lionel Messi’s goal in the first half.
The Venezuelan international and the 39-year-old Spaniard led Granada to their first LaLiga win in 26 visits to Camp Nou.
For Barcelona and their fans, the game with Granada looked like the perfect opportunity for the Blaugrana to vault ahead of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
The Catalan club came into Thursday’s contest having beaten Granada in 17 of their last 19 matches.
But instead of leading LaLiga with 74 points, one more than Atletico, Barça remain third. Though they are level on points with reigning champions Real Madrid at 71, the Blancos have the edge on head-to-head record.
Barcelona, who would end the game with 82 percent possession, dominated from the start.
Jordi Alba fired over the cross-bar on a chance to put the hosts ahead in the 9th minute and Antoine Griezmann forced a stop from Granada goalkeeper Aaron Escandell in the 19th.
The breakthrough for the home side came in the 23rd minute, when Messi got the ball to Griezmann in the area and the Frenchman put the return pass in the Argentine’s path for a lethal strike just inside the far post.
The Barcelona captain boosted his LaLiga scoring total for the season to 26 goals.
Escandell denied Messi in the 36th minute before dealing easily with Samuel Umtiti’s effort off the ensuing corner.
Griezmann was off target with a shot two minutes into the second half.
With the score still 1-0 at the hour mark, Granada coach Diego Martinez withdrew Roberto Soldado in favor of the veteran Molina, who made his presence felt in the 63rd with a good ball into the Barcelona zone.
Oscar Mingueza failed to clear and Machis evaded Sergi Roberto before beating keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to level the game at 1-1.
Barça coach Ronald Koeman let his temper get the better of him in an exchange of words with the referee, who showed the Dutchman a red card and sent him to the stands in the 67th minute.
The visitors took the lead in the 79th minute with Molina’s header off a cross from Adrian Marin, who came on seconds earlier for Machis.
Granada hung on to claim all 3 points and 2021 Copa del Rey winners Barcelona were left to contemplate a race for the LaLiga title in which they no longer control their own destiny. EFE