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Tuesday March 15 2016
Granada grief not in vain

Despite losing a lead against Espanyol on Monday, Granada showed promise in their battle for survival, Jared Tinslay writes. 

It may well have a felt like a loss for Granada. They were sentenced to play the match with 10 men after David Barral’s needless dismissal in minute 27 Yet, that moment seemed to act as a catalyst for Los Nazaries, as they took the lead 12 minutes later.

After half-time, Espanyol struggled to create many clear-cut chances, with Granada resilient and threatening on the break. Los Blanquiazules’s equaliser ultimately came from a stroke of luck when, within the final 10 minutes, a cross ricocheted off the unfortunate Miguel Lopes’s leg and past his own keeper.    

Granada, though, shouldn’t feel too disheartened. There were many signs to suggest that they do have enough to survive the drop, one important facet being the form of wingers Isaac Success and Ruben Rochina. Despite both wasting early good attacking positions, Success dribbling the ball out for a goal kick and Rochina blasting a cross over the bar, they soon improved and their direct running was a constant thorn for the away side.

The opening goal was created by a Success dribble, falling kindly to Rochina, who calmly slotted the home side in front. Granada will rely on their wide men in future games to provide a similar attacking spark. 

Equally as effective, though, were the central midfield pairing, who worked tirelessly for their team. Both Ruben Perez and Abdoulaye Doucare battled until the very end, not allowing Espanyol to take control of the match despite their numerical advantage. They were also more careful on the ball. Perez had a pass completion rate of 86% and Doucare 82%, overwhelmingly better than Espanyol’s Abraham Gonzalez on 70%.

Jose Gonzales can be proud of all of his player’s effort, mind. When Espanyol had a rare moment of pressure, Granada defended valiantly, closing down and forcing mistakes from their opponents. This was epitomised in minute 65, when Jorge Alviz had the ball on the edge of the area. The defence were so fast out to him that his shot was sliced wide and out for a throwing, to rapturous applause from the home fans.

They must be careful with their discipline though. Barral’s sending off was a needless impediment and Success could well have gone for a similar offence. Every match now is vital for the team from Andalusia and such unnecessary acts could cause them dear. Passion is indispensable, but silly red cards are most definitely not.

In terms of their run in, and that of the other teams near the bottom, Getafe arguably have it the easiest. Granada’s next match, a home fixture against Rayo Vallecano, will be key. They needn’t worry, mind, provided they continue to perform at last night’s level. 

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