Antoine Griezmann enjoyed some good fortune in front of goal as he netted for Barcelona for the first time in La Liga since November on Saturday against Granada.
The France international coolly converted on 12 minutes after a sharp touch and finish but saw the effort initially ruled out for offside. However, the goal was allowed to stand after a VAR review.
Griezmann was indeed in an offside position but replays showed the ball took a deflection off Granada striker Roberto Soldado on the way through. The goal is Griezmann’s sixth of the season in all competitions for Barcelona.
It was the perfect start to the game for Barcelona who had seen their preparations disrupted when center-back Ronald Araujo was injured in the warm-up. The Uruguay international was replaced in the starting XI by Samuel Umtiti.
Barca were already without center-back Clement Lenglet due to suspension for the match, while Umtiti’s appearance was his first as a starter for Barcelona in 2020-21.
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Griezmann Starts Ahead of Braithwaite
Coach Ronald Koeman opted to start Griezmann ahead of Martin Braithwaite despite the France international’s lack of goals. The World Cup winner did pick up an assist last time out against Athletic at San Mames after setting up Messi for the team’s third goal.
After scoring the opener Griezmann then picked up another assist, teeing up Messi for a trademark curled finish into the top corner to make it 2-0 to Barcelona.
Messi added a third before half-time with a brilliant free-kick to extend Barcelona’s lead. The goal means the Argentina international now has six goals in his last five appearances for the Catalan giants and appears to back to his very best in front of goal after lacking some sharpness at the start of the season.
Indeed Messi now has 11 for the season in La Liga and moves to the top of the scoring charts ahead of Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno. The captain won the Pichichi award for a record seventh time last season, and on current form looks in good shape to claim the trophy yet again.
Griezmann at the Double
Yet there was even more joy for Barcelona when Griezmann wrapped up the scoring just after the hour mark. The World Cup winner scored his second of the night with a great finish after a pass from Ousmane Dembele.
The goals should provide a big confidence boost for Griezmann who had gone into the match without a goal in his last seven matches in all competitions for the Catalan giants.
The win over Granada means it’s now eight games unbeaten for Ronald Koeman’s men and three consecutive victories on the road for Barca. The team stay in third place in the table but are now four points behind Atletico Madrid, although the league leaders do have three games in hand.
Barca now take a brief break from La Liga action. Koeman’s men head to Andalusia for a Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Real Sociedad on Wednesday. The second semi-finals sees Athletic face Real Madrid.