Barcelona came from behind to beat Granada 5-3 after extra time in Wednesday’s thrilling Copa del Rey quarter-finals at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes.
Goals from Kenedy and Roberto Soldado gave the home side a surprise win, but an 88th-minute own goal by Aaron Escandell and a 92nd-minute header from Jordi Alba put the game into extra time. Antoine Griezmann gave Barca an early lead in the remaining 30 minutes, but Granada equalized just before the break when Fede Vico scored a penalty after Sergino Dest fouled Carlos Neva. However, Barca reacted again. Frenkie de Jong restored his lead and Alba added his second goal with a stunning volley to ensure Ronald Koeman’s side make it through to the semi-finals on Friday.
This felt like a big night for Koeman’s side. Any doubts about their togetherness were sparked with a rousing comeback that will fill them with faith. They scored five, but it could have been 10 – or more. They registered 36 shots and hit the woodwork three times by Francisco Trincao, Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi.
There were great performances all over the field, especially from Griezmann who scored one goal and scored three goals. The French international really took responsibility when the tie looked lost. Messi’s fingerprints were also seen on most of the goals, even when he didn’t score.
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Finally, De Jong and Pedri showed an incredible level of intelligence in the game, knowing when to pick their moments to attack and when to help defend when Barca took risks to get back into the game.
This was two steps back for Samuel Umtiti after some encouraging signs in the last few weeks following his recovery from a long-term knee problem. Despite some decent performances, doubts have remained about his ability to compete consistently and against better opponents. He got stuck against Granada and made mistakes on both goals before leaving in the second half. Sergi Roberto, who started for the first time in two months, was taken off the field injured in the second half.
Manager rating of 10
7 – Koeman’s attack changes haven’t worked in the past, but this time they have resolved. Dembele and Riqui Puig were particularly good at the bench.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes are not rated)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 – Couldn’t do much against the goals and was a great sweeper late on, winning a header in the run-up to Alba’s first goal.
DF Sergi Roberto, 6 – His return was canceled when he was pulled off the field with an injury in the second half.
DF Ronald Araujo, 7 – There were some unusual mistakes in the first half but they were phenomenal when Barca came back as he was the only defender on the field.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 4 – Was put in a difficult spot for the first goal but still should never lose the ball in its own box. At the second goal he was caught watching the ball and then didn’t have the pace to keep up with the 35-year-old Soldado.
DF Jordi Alba, 9 – It showed incredible energy to join attack after attack. Got his reward with two brilliant hits and an assist.
MF Sergio Busquets, 6 – Read the game well but was replaced by Puig when Koeman wanted more offensive momentum.
MF Frenkie de Jong, 9- A tireless effort that takes on different roles throughout the night depending on the needs of the team. He won balls back in defense and scored his sixth goal of the season at the other end.
MF Pedri, 8 – Like De Jong, he chose his moments well. The ball was taped on his feet in and around the Granada box and he was also good at backtracking.
FW Francisco Trincao, 6 – I’m still waiting for his first Barca goal. Tried in the first half and smashed the underside of the crossbar in the 62nd minute just before the jump.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 – He probably thought it wasn’t his night when Aaron saved a spectacular bike kick, but his luck changed. His shot from the post was turned by Aaron for Barca’s first goal home. He set up both Alba goals and scored one of his own goals in a virtuoso performance. Now has 12 goals this season.
FW Lionel Messi, 8 – He didn’t score, but his crosses after the post resulted in the first two goals. His shot resulted in De Jong’s goal. He smashed the wood and, one by one, saved from Aaron. He didn’t stop.
DF Sergino Dest, 6 – Unfortunately Elva gave away the penalty for a light barge.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 7 – Hit the woodwork, deliver some dangerous crosses and cause problems with his pace.
FW Martin Braithwaite, 6 – Saved a header in extra time and was present in and around the box.
MF Riqui Puig, 7 – Had no direct involvement in any of the targets but his presence played a big part in Barca’s improvement.