Barcelona needs a late goal to salvage the draw with Granada.
Barcelona drew 1-1 with Granada at the Camp Nou on Monday night thanks to a late header from Ronald Araujo.
For the match, Ronald Koeman selected a youthful XI, with Sergio Busquets, 33, the only player over 30, and Philippe Coutinho making his first start for Barcelona since December 19, 2020.
Domingos Duarte was picked out at the far post with a magnificent cross from Sergio Escudero, and he made no mistake about the finish, smashing a header past Marc-Andre ter Stegen 88 seconds into the game.
Despite peppering Luis Maximiano’s goal with a late flurry just before the break, the hosts spent the rest of the first half in Granada’s end with no end product.
As Barca continued to trail by a goal, Koeman made two substitutions, putting on Luuk de Jong for Sergi Roberto at the start of the second half and replacing Gavi for Coutinho on the hour mark.
Just before the 80th minute, De Jong had a great opportunity to level the game, but he headed an outswinging Memphis Depay cross over the bar from point-blank range.
With a defeat looming for Koeman’s side, Gavi collected a loose ball in the area and expertly chipped it back in front of goal, where Araujo leaped to meet the ball and deflected it past Maximiano to earn Barcelona a point.
Barcelona now sits in the seventh position in LaLiga with eight points, while Granada is in 17th place with three points, just avoiding relegation from Spain’s top division.
“They [Granada] squandered time from the moment they scored,” Koeman grumbled. “They defended with every player back, so there wasn’t much room to play short, delicate passes.”
We had a room on the wings to cross, and we had big guys in the lineup, so we took advantage of that. Even though we lost two points, at least we got a draw.”
When questioned about the club’s style of play, Koeman said emphatically that this was not the old Barcelona team.
After the game, Koeman said, “It depends on what we have available.” “How will we play tiki taka (sic) if we don’t have any space?” Consider the team. We completed our responsibilities. We could have won with a little more time.
“Barcelona now isn’t the Barcelona of eight years ago.” We play in the same manner as Barcelona, but we lack players who can play one-on-one or at a fast tempo. It’s impossible to be dissatisfied with the attitude of the team.
“We used a 4-3-3 formation, but we lacked speed in the wide areas.” That player is neither Coutinho nor Demir. We have to find another method because they aren’t Ansu [Fati] or [Ousmane] Dembele.”