When the opportunities are there to hug, hug them – well, the story is different in the title race for the La Liga this season. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have wasted good chances to secure the place at the top and last night Barcelona did the same – Granada stunned for the first time at Camp Nou. The title race has become fascinating again.

Obviously, the Catalans were the favourites against Granada and their authority was confirmed when Lionel Messi gave them the lead within 23 minutes – He played the ball into Antoine Griezmann, who turned clear of his marker and played a neat through ball into Messi’s path and he got his head down and guided a brilliant finish across Escandell.

It was his 26th goal in La Liga this season.

After two minutes, Barca very nearly gifted Granada an immediate equalizer.

Busquets was robbed of possession on the edge of his own box, but Herrera’s resulting shot was a poor one which trickled wide.

And then Messi missed a golden opportunity to stretch the lead after thirteen minutes.

He beat Granada’s offside trap and took a brilliant touch to control a ball over the top. However, Escandell just managed to close the angle enough to get a touch on Messi’s attempt.

Granada have conceded in each of their 24 away La Liga games against Barca, failing to score in 15 of those matches, including the last six – their last goal at Camp Nou in the competition came back in March 2012.

In the first half they did not have enough to say, still, threatened, but Barca had the utmost authority and looked to bury the game after the break.

But after the break, came the shock!

Barca were controlling the game and after one hour mark, Granada struck.

Mingueza failed to deal with a loose ball and the Granada forward – Darwin Machis, who had got the better of Roberto, was on hand to get on the end of it and squeeze a finish beyond Ter Stegen.

Things turned worse for Barca when Ronald Koeman was shown a red card as he could not hold back in airing his frustration down on the touchline.

Barca’s high line gave Granada plenty of space to exploit behind, and the visitors were certainly doing that on the counter as Barca press forward in search of a goal to get themselves back in front.

With just ten minutes remaining, a cross from the left is met by Molina, and the veteran campaigner diverts a wonderful header across Ter Stegen to make it 2-1 in favour of Granada.

The result remained the same till the final whistle.

“We lost our focus in the second half and made errors at the back,” Koeman told Movistar. “We need to accept the fact we’ve lost, that’s the reality of things. We had chances to win the game, but that’s that. We’ve got five more games to go and each of the sides (in the title race) will have difficulties moving forwards.

“We’re still in the mix and have a chance. We need to accept this, move on, and prepare for the next one. We tried but weren’t able to make many chances when they scored their goals. They closed shop well and we couldn’t create.”

Barca had won their entire home LaLiga matches against Granada before today, but that record has now bitten the dust, and the Blaugrana remain third, a point above Sevilla, level with Madrid, and two behind Atleti with four games remaining.

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