El Centrocampista

Down, but not out – Granada gain confidence despite Camp Nou defeat.


The main headlines after the Tuesday night encounter between Barcelona and Granada were inevitably grabbed by Lionel Messi breaking a club scoring record, but Granada registered a surprising record of their own.

There was never really any doubt that Barcelona would win the match, although admittedly fans of the Andalucian club were probably in a hopeful dreamland for a whole six minutes with the score at 2-2. Granada didn’t give up, even in the midst of some exhibition football from Barcelona.

Whilst we could debate the free-kick and two penalties that contributed in a final score of 5-3 to Barcelona, one fact remains: Granada CF are the only visiting team to score three goals at Camp Nou this season.

During the second-half of the match, Granada actually found one or two chinks in the armour of the mighty Barcelona. The raw pace of Dani Benítez caused problems for Dani Alves, which directly led to the Brazilian conceding the two penalties. The first a clumsy challenge from Alves and obvious bit of gamesmanship from Benítez, whilst the second was a clear hand ball, which also earned Alves a second yellow card.

Benítez himself can gain confidence from the match though, after a very inconsistent season so far. One of the players of the year in the Segunda, he’s struggled to find his feet at the highest level of Spanish football, often proving his pace alone isn’t always enough to beat better quality full-backs.

Even in defeat, with a rare record to take away from Camp Nou, one could argue that in spite of the usual dominance of possession and play Barcelona enjoyed, it was once again “that man” Lionel Messi who was the difference when it came to the score. Countless teams have suffered his brilliance and in that respect, Granada are no different.

They still scored three goals however and during the second-half, actually grew in confidence that there was a chance they could still get something from the game. Ultimately they didn’t, but they left with no shame and further belief that they can take the game to even the biggest of opponents.

Important belief and confidence to take into their next game this weekend at home, against Andaluz rivals Sevilla. With their “bigger” local rivals and manager under pressure to deliver results, Granada will have every reason to believe they can win the game, having somewhat surprisingly done so earlier in the season away. There is a confidence about the Granada team, that no game is lost, until the final whistle is blown.

Granada managed to push themselves seven points clear of the drop-zone, after the crucial home victory over Sporting Gijón last weekend. Interestingly, Sporting Gijón and Racing Santander are level on points in the bottom three. Sevilla travel to meet Racing Santander on Thursday night and could actually do their Andaluz neighbours a favour with a win. Meanwhile, a Granada win against Sevilla next Monday night, could help them climb further away from the relegation battle.

The following weekend then sees Granada make the trip to Racing Santander, for one of the matches manager Abel Resino has already highlighted as a “must win” encounter. Two games that will go a long way to shaping their fortunes this season, putting their destiny firmly in their own hands.

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