El Centrocampista

Granada look to dig deep as the fight for survival begins


While much of Spain’s footballing media turns its attention to Barcelona’s unlikely chase of leader Real Madrid at the top of la liga, elsewhere clubs are fighting to salvage their very place in the country’s top division.

Among them are Granada, who ended a 35-year-wait when they gained promotion to the top flight after battling through the segunda division play-offs last season. However the Andaluz club are currently struggling and face the very real prospect of a swift return back to la segunda after just one season with the big-boys, the latest blow coming in the form of a 3-0 loss to Sevilla at los Carmenes on Monday night.

Currently floating six points above the relegation zone, Granada have nine games left to test their mettle and prove that their cameo in the Primera is no fluke. Despite losing six of their last ten games, the newcomers play with a definite resolve – accompanied by an admirable, never-say-die mentality.

It was an attitude put on display in their most recent trip to Camp Nou to face Catalan giants Barcelona, when the modest Andaluz side became the first away team to score three goals against la Blaugrana this season. Despite losing the game 5-3 and seeing Lionel Messi break the Barcelona club scoring record, Granada fought until the final whistle in a fitting microcosm of their season. They haven’t won all of their games (or even ten of them, yet), but they have continued to play attacking, if not gladiator-esque football.

Monday’s fixture against mid-table Sevilla saw them walk away without a point for the 16th time this season, but their play reflected that of a team deserving of top-flight football.  They had the majority of play in the first half and were unlucky to fall behind when Alvaro Negredo chipped the advancing Roberto just past the half hour mark.

However, in true gladiator fashion, Granda fought back to create a slew of chances before half time, although none found the back of the net. With better luck, Granada could even have found themselves going in at the break ahead rather than behind.

Into the second half, Abel Resino’s men continued to create chances for themselves, but just couldn’t find the last piece to heath Palop in Sevilla’s goal and Manu del Moral ensured a win for the visitors with a second-half brace. Despite their inability to find the end product against Sevilla, Granada look to be just a few cogs short of a mid-table first division machine.

The final nine games of this campaign will serve to determine Granada’s fate for the coming 2012-2013 season. Having already played each of the upcoming nine clubs, Granada know what to expect, but they will need to grind out results in games that could prove close. Besides suffering a 5-1 loss against league leaders Real Madrid and a 3-0 loss at the hands of an unpredictable Espanyol, each of Granada’s first games against their upcoming foes were decided by one goal.

With a continued fervor and a bit more luck, the Andaluz side should retain their status in Spanish football’s top flight for consecutive years for the first time since the mid-1970’s. In doing so, their hard work and gritty determination would solidify the unpredictable but captivating run to La Liga from their place in the third tier of Spanish football just two years ago.

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