On Sunday, Barcelona’s comeback against Granada resulted in a dramatic 2-2 tie, but it was not enough to prevent them from falling farther behind in the fight for the La Liga crown.
However, goals from Lamine Yamal and Sergi Roberto maintained the champions’ status as the only undefeated club in La Liga. Bryan Zaragoza scored both of the home side’s goals to put them up 2-0.
The Catalans, on the other hand, have dropped to third place and are now three points behind the leaders Real Madrid. They are also one point behind their rivals Girona, who also won on Saturday.
Zaragoza scored two goals in the first half, the first of which broke the scoreless tie after just 17 seconds, making it the quickest goal that Barcelona has allowed an opponent to score against them in the 21st century.
At the age of 16 years and 87 days, Yamal became the youngest player in the history of La Liga to score a goal when he scored the goal that brought Barcelona back into the game shortly before halftime.
Sergi Roberto, who came in as a substitute with three minutes left, scored the goal that brought the team managed by Xavi Hernandez equal, but they were unable to find a late winner in the high-pressure finish.
It was the third comeback they had made in recent weeks, after victories against Celta Vigo after falling behind by two goals and Mallorca after going down twice in yet another 2-2 draw at Mallorca.
In addition, Barcelona’s night was ruined when Jules Kounde suffered a knee injury. At the time, the Catalans were already providing medical attention to Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, and Raphinha in the locker room.
Ferran Torres was used as a false nine after Lewandowski was taken off the pitch by Xavi, who also gave Fermin Lopez his first start for the club in the middle of the pitch.
The head coach decided to start the game without a true defensive midfielder and instead split the duties of that position between Ilkay Gundogan and Gavi by leaving Oriol Romeu on the bench.
The latter led to problems almost immediately, as Granada took the ball away from the young midfielder as the action built up to the opening goal.
Zaragoza was given the ball by Lucas Boye, and he sent it past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The Barcelona custodian should have done more to prevent the effort from going into the bottom corner, but the ball looked to jiggle before it went past him.
As Barcelona looked for an equaliser but unable to break into Granada’s defences, Gavi forced the custodian to make a stop at the opposite end, and Joao Felix shot the ball wide.
At the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium, Zaragoza put the hosts up by two with a magnificent solo goal that left Kounde wobbling before finishing exquisitely with the outside of his foot into the top corner.
Breaking all previous records
In the last seconds of the first half, stoppage time, Felix nudged the ball into Yamal’s path from only a few of yards away, and Yamal slid the ball in to break yet another record. This gave Barcelona a way to get back into the contest.
Despite this, there was no time for Yamal, who at the time was Spain’s youngest player and had scored a goal, to celebrate.
After the halftime break, Barcelona continued their pursuit of a second goal, with Gundogan requiring a brilliant save from Andre Ferreira and Ronald Araujo blasting a shot that was inches wide of the goal.
In the end, Sergi Roberto scored the equaliser for his team by finishing off Alejandro Balde’s low cross. Granada protested a collision earlier in the play, which they wanted to be ruled a foul, but Sergi Roberto’s goal was the focus of their attention.
Zaragoza came close to completing his hat trick as the visitors fiercely replied, but he hit the post with a shot as the game continued to bounce back and forth between the two teams.
Felix headed in what he believed was the winner, and Xavi jumped for ecstasy on the touchline. However, it was judged that Ferran Torres was offside because he was interfering with play, despite the fact that he did not touch the ball.