Diego Martinez laments “cruel” defeat but retains pride in Granada after Copa del Rey exit

Granada and Barcelona locked horns last night at Los Carmenes to contest a place in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. It was the Catalan visitors that won out, rallying late to secure a thrilling 5-3 victory that will reassure supporters of their fighting spirit.

Ronald Koeman’s men were 2-0 down going into the final ten minutes of regular time only for a quick-fire double to draw them level. Then, after a bit of back-and-forth, they went for the jugular in extra-time to secure safe passage.

Granada coach Diego Martinez described the result as “cruel”, opining that “no more can be done with the abysmal difference in the realities of the two teams” in post-match comments carried by Mundo Deportivo.

Ronald Araujo

Martinez appreciated that his players were “tired at the end” due to the “tremendous effort they made” but that they nonetheless “fought to the end”.

He highlighted their commendable “mental strength, pride, commitment, solidarity, playing as a team and being able to be level after 90 minutes against a team from another dimension.”

Barcelona dominated the opening exchanges and created chances, but failed to turn the key and get that opening goal.

Granada, however did, seizing on a Samuel Umtiti mistake to tee up Robert Kenedy to put the Andalusians into the lead.

Shortly after the second-half got under way, they doubled their advantage. Roberto Soldado beat Umtiti in a footrace before finishing coolly past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Jordi Alba

The Catalans continued to press, however, and mounted a dramatic late comeback to take the game to extra-time. First, Antoine Griezmann struck to make it 2-1. Then, the Frenchman combined with Lionel Messi to tee up Jordi Alba, who made no mistake in scoring the all-important equaliser right at the death.

The game went into extra-time, with Barcelona getting their noses in front inside ten minutes through Griezmann. This time, the Frenchman was on hand to score a powerful header to make it 3-2 to Barcelona after being teed up by Alba.

Fede Vico then equalised for Granada through a penalty kick only for Frenkie de Jong to put Barcelona back ahead five minutes later. Five minutes after that, a certified golazo from Alba put the blaugrana 5-3 up and sealed their place in the semi-final.

Tags Barcelona Granada La Liga