No Lionel Messi, no Victor Valdés, no problem for Barcelona as the Spanish giants remained on top of La Liga thanks to a comfortable win over Granada at the Camp Nou. Two first half penalties from Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fábregas and a second half strikes from Alexis Sanchez and Pedro Rodriguez led the Blaugrana to victory.
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As you might expect Barcelona were all over Granada early, forcing them back into their own end for a majority of the opening 15 minutes. Barca's best chance early came in the 14th minute when Neymar's free kick found Alexis free in space right in front of the goal. The Chilean's header was not hit well but still forced an excellent point blank save from Roberto to keep the match scoreless.
Barcelona were given a penalty in the 19th minute after Granada's Dimitri Foulquier impeded Cesc Fábregas as he made a run into the box. Andrés Iniesta coolly stepped up and beat Roberto low to the right to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Fun fact, it was Iniesta's first ever penalty kick goal for Barcelona. His only other attempt came back in 2004, and he missed.
Granada came ever so close to pulling even in the 24th minute on the counter attack, nearly catching Barcelona stretched out. Piti found some space 25-yards out and sent a rising blast that skipped off the crossbar. It was hard to tell if Jose Manuel Pinto got a touch on the ball, but either way Granada was denied.
Barcelona were warded another penalty in the 39th minute when Fran Rico clipped Iniesta inside the area. Fábregas stepped up this time and beat Roberto with a shot up and into the right top corner to make it 2-0 just before the halftime break.
Things didn't improve at all for Granada in the second half. In the 66th minute Manuel Iturra, already carrying yellow, made a foolish and unnecessary challenge as he dove in on Pedro Rodriguez, tripping up the striker. Iturra knew he was doomed as soon as he made the tackle and the referee wasted no time showing him his second yellow and sending him off.
Two penalties and a red card, both completely correct calls but that won't stop MARCA from going ballistic for the rest of the weekend.
Four minutes later Alexis Sánchez finished things off with, receiving a ball from Neymar on the right side of the Granada box before sliding it past Roberto to make it 3-0. The really depressing part for Granada was the fact that the goal came on a counter attack created after Allan-Roméo Nyom was denied at the near post by Pinto.
Pedro added a fourth in the 90th minute, just for fun.
Barcelona: Pinto, Montoya, Piqué, Bartra, Adriano, Busquets (Song 74'), Fábregas, Iniesta, Alexis (Roberto 74'), Neymar (Traore 83'), Pedro
Goals: Iniesta (19'), Fábregas (39'), Alexis (71'), Pedro (90')
Granada: Roberto, Nyom, Diakhaté, Murillo, Foulquier, Iturra, Recio, Rico, Brahimi (Buonanotte 78'), Piti (Ighalo 77'), Arabi (Riki 73')