Messi, Griezmann lead Barca to big win

Barcelona’s first three-match winning run in the league under Ronald Koeman put it four points behind leader Atlético Madrid

By   |  Published: 10th Jan 2021  5:53 pm
Lionel Messi (C) waits to kick the ball between Barcelona's French midfielder Antoine Griezmann (L) and Barcelona's Spanish defender Jordi Alba during the Spanish League football match between Granada and Barcelona. -Photo: AFP

Barcelona: First it was Pedro “Pedri” González shining with his assists. Then the injury-prone Dembele Ousmane earned a spot in the attack. Now the oft-maligned Antoine Griezmann is back to scoring goals.

All in all, Barcelona is slowly showing signs this season might not be a wash after all. Griezmann scored a brace and set up Lionel Messi for one of the Argentine’s two goals on Saturday to lead Barcelona to a 4-0 win at Granada.

Barcelona’s first three-match winning run in the league under Ronald Koeman put it four points behind leader Atlético Madrid, whose home game scheduled for Saturday against Athletic Bilbao was postponed due to a blizzard that has shut down the capital and made transit almost impossible through much of central Spain.

Second-placed Real Madrid was one point behind Atlético after being held at Osasuna to 0-0 in a match played in steady snowfall and with barely any scoring chances for either side. Atlético has three more games to play than its top title rivals.

Griezmann got Barcelona started with his first goal in nearly a month in the 12th minute when a pass by Sergio Busquets was deflected to him by a Granada defender. Griezmann set up Messi to double the lead with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area in the 36th. Messi got his league-leading 11th goal in the 42nd when he drove a free kick under two players who jumped in the defensive barrier. It was his first goal from a free kick this season.

Griezmann rounded off the big win in the 64th when he beat goalkeeper Rui Silva from a tight angle after Dembele played him clear with a lobbed pass. It was Griezmann’s first multi-goal game in nearly a year.

Granada played the last 12 minutes minus Jesús Vallejo, who was sent off for fouling Martin Braithwaite with only Silva to beat. Braithwaite had gone on in the 65th to give Messi a rare bit of rest with the game well in hand for the visitors.

Madrid’s only decent chance to breaking down Osasuna’s disciplined defense was Marco Asensio’s shot from distance early in the second half that goalie Sergio Herrera did well to parry.

Youssef En-Nesyri scored a hat trick for Sevilla to beat Real Sociedad 3-2 in a thriller that featured four goals in the opening quarter of an hour.