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LaLiga 2019/20, Granada 2-0 Barcelona: 5 Hits and Flops

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Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:33 IST

Barcelona's surprise 2-0 away defeat by Granada confines them to their worst top-flight start for 25 years

Newly-promoted Granada were surprise 2-0 winners over defending La Liga champions Barcelona on Saturday evening, confining Ernesto Valverde's side to their worst season start for 25 years in the process. 

Ramon Azeez's opener after just a minute, coupled with a coolly dispatched Alvaro Vadillo penalty in the second half, means the Spanish champions have only taken one point from their three away games to start the 2019/20 campaign.

Also, the Blaugrana have failed to win any of their last seven away fixtures across all competitions while a half-time double change - teenage sensation Ansu Fati and a less-than-100% talisman Lionel Messi couldn't help inspire them into a comeback.

The result sees them top La Liga on goal difference after Atletico Madrid's goalless draw against Celta Vigo earlier in Saturday's action, while they are guaranteed a top-four place before matchday five is complete as Real Madrid and Sevilla feature in Sunday's evening kick-off. 

Without further ado, here's a look at five hits and flops from another surprising result in Spain's top-flight - adding further pressure on Valverde after another underwhelming Barca display: 

#5 Flop: Junior Firpo

Firpo was underwhelming against Granada and unsurprisingly hooked at half-time, in his first Barca start
Firpo was underwhelming against Granada and unsurprisingly hooked at half-time, in his first Barca start

In a match of such fine margins, defensive mistakes are often magnified and made to look worse than they are. But when you're making your first Barcelona start away from home against a fearless, newly-promoted side with nothing to lose, there are some things you just cannot do. 

One is to dither in possession in your own third, another is to not adequately recover after making the initial error and instead gifting the hosts an opportunity to break the deadlock. 

Spainish U-21 international Firpo, who joined last month from Real Betis for £16.5m, couldn't have dreamed of a nightmare start worse than this one on his first competitive start under Ernesto Valverde.


He turned his back to shield the ball and ended up being effortlessly dispossessed by an alert Roberto Soldado, who held up play momentarily before teeing up an overlapping Antonio Puertas. He outmuscled the 23-year-old in transition and left him for dead before firing across goal, which an opportunistic Azeez flicked home.

1-0 down after just 63 seconds, Barca were rightly stunned and failed to adequately recover. Instead, they had an excuse to cower into their rigid shell, playing conservatively and passing often without a real cutting edge in the final third.

Despite making two tackles, winning six of his nine duels and recording one clearance in 45 minutes, the damage was already done. Unsurprisingly, he was hooked at half-time as Valverde made a double substitution and looked for an immediate response. 

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Published 22 Sep 2019, 10:28 IST
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