Penalties push Barca to win

Penalties from Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas and smart finishes from Alexis Sanchez and Pedro saw Barcelona comfortably dispatch with Granada.

Before kick-off, Lionel Messi showed the Camp Nou crowd his Golden Shoe award collected in the week for 2012-13’s scoring exploits.

Barca, who in his injury-inflicted absence, started with Neymar, Alexis Sanchez and Pedro Rodriguez in attack, whilst Jose Manuel Pinto deputised in goal in place of the also injured Victor Valdes.

Also without a number of other first team players through fitness struggles, the Catalans had the early sights of goal and first brought a neat save out of Roberto when Neymar’s curling free-kick into the box was missed by everyone and was threatening to bounce in.

Barca soon after took the lead when Cesc Fabregas was felled in the box by Dimitri Foulquier. Andres Iniesta, captain for the game, converted with a side-footed finish into the right-hand side of the goal.

At the other end, Granada looked to test deputy goalkeeper Pinto with a few long-range efforts during the first 45, with Piti bringing him into action to collect a dropping free-kick on the half-hour mark.

There were calls 10 minutes before the break for Manuel Iturra’s dismissal as, already booked, the Chilean caught Sergio Busquets with a high challenge. However, the referee took no action beyond the free-kick.

Soon after, Alexis was played into the penalty area by Fabregas, only to hesitate and allow his marker to unbalance him and Roberto to collect the ball.

Five minutes before the break, Iniesta was tripped on the edge of the box by Fran Rico and Fabregas this time stepped up to convert Barca’s second spot-kick into the top corner for 2-0.

A mistake from Roberto in the Granada goal almost saw Barca gifted a third five minutes into the second half, only for Pedro to blast the goalkeeper’s weak parry from a cross over the bar.

Granada’s task was made all the harder just after the hour mark, when Manuel Iturra was shown a second yellow card for a trip on Pedro.

Allan Nyom, however, soon found himself afterwards with the visitors’ best chance as he ran into the penalty area, only to delay his shot and have Pinto block it.

To make matters worse, Barca broke down the other end and went 3-0 up when Neymar slid in Alexis running into the penalty area, for his neat finish beyond Roberto.

A quiet end to the game was interrupted with Barcelona’s neat passing move that made it 4-0. Sergi Roberto’s burst through the middle found Fabregas, who squared for Pedro to score.

Barcelona 4-0 Granada

Iniesta pen 20 (B), Fabregas pen 40 (B), Alexis 71 (B), Pedro 90 (B)

Barcelona: Pinto; Montoya, Pique, Bartra, Adriano; Fabregas, Busquets (Song 73), Iniesta; Pedro, Neymar (Adama 83), Alexis (Sergi Roberto 73)

Granada: Roberto; Nyom, Diakhaté, Murillo, Foulquier; Iturra, Recio, Rico; Brahimi (Buonanotte 77), Piti (Ighalo 77), El-Arabi

Manuel Iturra sent off 66 (Granada)

Tags Alexis Fabregas Iniesta Iturra Pedro Pinto