It's a shame: Barcelona's Araujo after Granada draw

AP , Tuesday 21 Sep 2021

Barcelona's Ronald Araujo celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Granada, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (AP)

Less than a week after a demoralizing loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Barcelona faltered at Camp Nou again, being held by winless Granada 1-1 in the Spanish league on Monday.

Barcelona needed a 90th-minute equalizer by defender Ronald Araujo, sparking jeers by many in the crowd of nearly 27,000.

The setback followed the 3-0 rout by Bayern in the team's first defeat since losing Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, and added pressure on coach Ronald Koeman and club president Joan Laporta.

Granada came to Barcelona winless in four matches and coming off two consecutive losses, including at home against Real Betis in the Andalucia derby last week. It defeated Barcelona at Camp Nou the last time they met in April.

``It's a shame,'' Araujo said. ``If we had been able to score earlier we could have gotten the victory. After the early goal they sat back on defense and that made it difficult for us.''

The draw left Barcelona in seventh place, five points from leader Real Madrid with a game in hand.

Coached by former Spain manager Robert Moreno, Granada opened the scoring two minutes into the match with a header by Domingos Duarte off a set-piece.

Barcelona squandered two great chances to equalize before halftime _ Sergi Roberto hit the crossbar from inside the area and Araujo's header was brilliantly saved by Granada goalkeeper Luis Maximiano.

Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong also failed to capitalize on scoring chances in the second half, but Araujo finally broke through with a close-range header in the 90th.

``We know that Barca isn't going through a good moment and it was important to try to take advantage of that early on,'' Duarte said. ``Earning a point at Camp Nou is always good but we came close to getting the three points. In the end they had many chances too. It was a fair result.''

Koeman couldn't count on several players because of injuries, including Jordi Alba and Pedri Gonzalez.

He added a few youngsters in the second half, including Riqui Puig and 17-year-old Gavi, who set up Araujo's equalizer. Philippe Coutinho was one of the players replaced.

Veteran defender Gerard Pique played as a striker after coming into the game in the final minutes.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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