Barca held at Granada 1-1, Alves assists in first Liga game

AP , Saturday 8 Jan 2022

Ten-man Barcelona conceded a late goal to draw at Granada 1-1 on Saturday after Dani Alves set up the opener in his first Spanish league match since returning to the club.

Dani Alves
Barcelona s Dani Alves fights for the ball against Granada s German during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Granada and Barcelona at Los Carmenes stadium in Granada, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 (AP)

The 38-year-old Alves curled in a long ball for Luuk de Jong to steer home with a header in the 57th minute.

But Granada poured forward after teenager Gavi Paez got his second booking with 10 minutes left. Antonio Puertas scored the 89th-minute equalizer with Barcelona hemmed in in its box.

Alves, who helped Barcelona win 23 titles from 2008-16, started his second stint on Wednesday as third-tier side Linares was beaten 2-1 in the Copa del Rey.

De Jong's goal was the second in as many league games for the Dutch striker who has been linked to a possible transfer this month. He has played little since joining Barcelona at the start of the season. Last weekend, his header at Mallorca earned a 1-0 win.

Barcelona was left in sixth place after missing the chance to climb into third and the Champions League spots.

``We are angry and frustrated because we let two vital points slip away,'' coach Xavi Hernandez said. ``The sending off obviously changed the match, but we were already making too many mistakes, losing too many silly balls. It may be due to the lack of experience of our young players, but it is proving difficult for us to maintain possession when we need to.''

Barcelona next heads to Saudi Arabia to play a clasico against Real Madrid on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup. Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao are in the other semifinal.

Memphis Depay went on as a second-half substitute to replace De Jong for his first action since being sidelined for over a month with a left thigh injury.

Barcelona, however, lost Eric Garcia with an apparent leg injury. The team was already without fellow central defender Ronald Araujo after he broke his right hand in the cup.

Finally, a win

It took Levante 20 matches, but it finally got its first win of the season.

Roberto Soldado and Jose Morales scored in its 2-0 win over Mallorca after having gone the entire first half of the season _ a full 19 rounds _ without a single victory. The only previous win in any competition for the Valencia-based side came against a lower-division opponent in the Copa del Rey, before it was eliminated in the next round by a third-tier opponent.

Levante remained in last place, five points from safety.

Mikel Oyarzabal scored his 12th goal in all competitions to help Real Sociedad beat Celta Vigo 1-0, ending its six-round winless streak.

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

Short link: