Barcelona fans jeer team after draw with relegation-threatened Granada

AP , Monday 12 Feb 2024

Barcelona heard from its fans again after its chances of successfully defending the Spanish league title took another hit on Sunday.

Barcelona
Granada players celebrate the equalizing goal scored by Granada s Uruguayan forward #19 Facundo Pellistri (L) during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Granada FC at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on February 11, 2024. AFP

Barcelona was jeered at home following a 3-3 draw against second-to-last Granada, a setback that saw the Catalan club move 10 points behind leader Real Madrid, which defeated second-place Girona 4-0 on Saturday.

Barcelona trails Girona by five points and is three ahead of fourth-place Atletico Madrid, which lost 1-0 at Sevilla earlier Sunday.

The draw is likely to add more pressure on Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández, who recently said he will not return after the end of the season.

“It was already tough for us in the league, and now it’s two points tougher,” Xavi said. “It’s a big gap but we are not going to throw in the towel. We have to stop making mistakes.”

Barcelona was heavily favored to win against a Granada team that has only one win in its last 13 matches in all competitions.

Teenager Lamine Yamal was the man of the match for Barcelona, scoring twice.

“We tried until the end but couldn’t get the win,” the 16-year-old Yamal said. “It’s another missed opportunity but we have to keep fighting. There are still many matches remaining and the teams at the top could still stumble.”

Lamal opened the scoring in the 14th minute before Granada rallied with goals by Ricard Sánchez in the 43rd and Facundo Pellistri in the 60th.

Robert Lewandowski equalized in the 63rd and Ignasi Miquel put the visitors ahead again in the 66th before Yamal leveled the match with low shot into the corner in the 80th.

Granada hasn’t won in five straight league matches, with three losses and two consecutive draws in its last two games. It stayed in 19th place, seven points from safety.

SEVILLA REBOUNDS

Sevilla continued its recovery with a 1-0 win over Atletico that ended a 10-match winless streak at home and moved it further away from the relegation zone.

Isaac Romero scored a 15th-minute winner to give Sevilla its second straight league victory after a run of five winless matches that included four losses. Sevilla hadn’t won in eight league games, matching its worst ever winless streak in the competition from back in the 1960s.

The victory jumped Sevilla to 15th place, six points from the relegation zone.

Atletico increased its winless streak to three matches in all competitions and saw its title chances in the Spanish league diminish. Diego Simeone’s team stayed in fourth place, 13 points from Madrid.

Atletico was coming off a 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey that ended its 28-game unbeaten run at home across all tournaments. Before that, it needed a stoppage-time equalizer to draw 1-1 at Real Madrid in the league. Atletico had eliminated Sevilla 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey at home in January.

Atletico striker Álvaro Morata couldn’t finish the first half with an apparent knee injury that prompted him to leave the field in tears.

GETAFE’S LATE WIN

Jaime Mata scored twice, including an 89th-minute winner, in Getafe’s 3-2 victory over Celta Vigo at home.

Getafe stayed in 10th place, while Rafa Benítez’s Celta, which rallied from two goals down after the 71st, stayed 17th —three points clear from the relegation zone.

MURIQI’S WINNER

Vedat Muriqi scored a minute into stoppage time as Mallorca defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-1 to move into 16th place, six points clear of danger.

Mallorca was winless in five consecutive league matches.

Rayo, winless in seven matches in all competitions, dropped to 14th place with its third-straight league loss.

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

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