After their 3-0 thumping by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week, Barcelona were glad to return to league action at Camp Nou. Barca have been unbeaten in their three games so far this season and, a victory would ensure the highest point total from their first four games of a league campaign since 2018-19 when they ended up as the champions. Well, they just put up a dismal show.

Granada, meanwhile, were yet to win this season having earned just two points from their first four games. That’s their joint-worst total at this stage of the season in the 21st century. With Granada winless in their last nine games in La Liga and hovering just above the relegation zone, Robert Moreno needed to get a tune from his players quickly.

Before the action began, Barca won 24 of their last 25 home meetings with Granada in La Liga, with the only exception being Granada’s 2-1 victory here this past April. The hosts have struggled with Granada lately, losing two of their last four league matches.

Koeman made five changes to the Barca side that lost against Bayern Munich. The hosts had an extensive injury list so Yusuf Demir and Philippe Coutinho flank Memphis Depay upfront. There are seven changes to Granada from their 2-1 home loss to Real Betis. One of those was Molina who captained the side.

The seats had barely been warmed by the supporters inside the Camp Nou when Granada grabbed an early lead on a thumping Domingos Duarte header off a cross from Sergi Escudero.

Later on, there was nearly a second for the Andalusian visitors when Jorge Molina connected on a cross from Darwin Machis, but the veteran striker’s effort was volleyed over the crossbar.

Barcelona were desperate for something positive and Sergi Roberto nearly delivered with a shot off the other crossbar after the Granada defence failed to clear a corner kick.

Koeman was then forced into his first change when Balde pulled up with a back injury and was replaced by Oscar Mingueza just a few minutes before half time.

Barcelona kept plugging away and Araujo was unlucky not to have pulled his side level, as his blazing header was well-saved by Granada goalkeeper Luis Maximiano.

The second substitution for the hosts was made during the break, as Luuk de Jong was brought into the fold for Sergi Roberto.

Barcelona’s best chances were coming in atypical fashion, via set pieces, with Araujo flashing another header just wide in the early stages of the second half.

On the hour mark, Gavi was introduced into the fray, replacing Philippe Coutinho, followed later by the final two changes with Riqui Puig seeing his first action of the season in place of Sergio Busquets and Pique on in an attacking role for Demir.

Granada were now pegged back in their own area and they got a big break late on when Luuk de Jong managed to flub a free header from just a few yards out.

Cross after cross was served up by Barcelona in front of Granada’s goal in the final minutes, but the visiting defence held firm until the final moments when a floater from Gavi connected with the charging Araujo, who finally made good on his fourth headed attempt of the night to make it 1-1, which held until the final whistle.

“Look at our squad list,” Koeman said after the game when quizzed about Barcelona’s setup and style.

“We did what we could. We don’t have the players from the tiki-taka days. We have to play with our own style.”

“I think we did well and, with some more time, we could have won. The basic system was 4-3-3 in the first half, then I had to make changes based on what I had on the bench.”

“This isn’t the Barcelona of eight years ago. That’s the way it is.”

“With Ansu [Fati] and [Ousmane] Dembele it’s different because we have more depth.”

“There were no spaces,” Koeman said.

“They defended with a lot of players back. At least we levelled, but it’s too bad we dropped two points.”

The coach, though, was left unimpressed by the visitors’ time-wasting tactics, which he accused them of deploying from early on.

“You can’t be happy with a draw against Granada,” Koeman said.


“We fought and did well in the second half. But from the second minute, they wasted time, and that has to change.”

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