Barcelona stumbled to a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Granada and had to wait for the 90th minute for the equaliser.
Ronald Koeman has been urged this summer to not lose touch with the club’s trademark style of football but they ended this game pelting crosses into the area and with Gerard Pique on as an auxiliary number nine alongside Luuk de Jong.
It wasn’t pretty and the point will do nothing to lift the gloom around the club.
Koeman fielded a young team with Sergio Busquets the only player over 30 in the starting line-up.
The young side were behind after just two minutes when Domingos Duarte found space at the back post and headed past Marc Andre ter Stegen.
Barcelona toiled without reward in the first half. Philippe Coutinho was starting his first game since last December but he failed to spark the home team whose best chances dropped to Sergio Roberto and Araujo.
The midfielder hit the frame of the goal and Araujo powered a header goalwards but Luis Maximiano made the save of the match to deny him.
Koeman brought big centre-forward De Jong on at the break and Barça’s most effective first half tactic also became the plan in the second 45 minutes. Araujo was denied again and the introduction of Pique gave Oscar Mingueza down the right and Sergino Dest down the left another head to pick out in the Granada penalty area.
Granada without a win in their first four games were out to match their result at the Camp Nou last April when they picked up their first win ever at Barcelona’s stadium.
It looked as if they had managed it but in the last minute of normal time Pique had time to bring the ball down in their area and when he laid it off to Gavi the 17-year-old midfielder’s cross was headed in by Araujo for the equaliser.
Koeman will be glad he has another game on Thursday and only three days to bat away questions over his future.
This result leaves them seventh with a game in hand but of more concern is the way they are playing and the fast diminishing alternatives for the under-fire manager.
The 17-year-old left back Alejandro Balde started the game in place of the injured Jordi Alba but went off with a back problem.
‘It is what it is’ was Koeman’s response to losing to Bayern. He no longer believes it’s possible to compete with Bayern Munich. But if Barça are struggling to compete with Granada it is going to be a long season.
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