LaLiga Matchweek 18: Messi and Griezmann grind up Granada as Barcelona bounce back in title's race (0-4)

Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann each netted two goals to power Barcelona to an impressive 4-0 victory over Granada on Saturday night at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes.

Griezmann opened the scoring early in the first half before Messi added a pair of scores before half time. Griezmann then struck again midway through the second stanza to complete the scoreline.

It was another impressive performance from the Catalonians on the heels of their win at the San Mames on Wednesday, and it will surely provide a hugely needed confidence boost to Griezmann.

Coach Ronald Koeman rolled out an attacking trio of Ousmane Dembele, Griezmann and Messi, while in the back Oscar Mingueza was back in the fold for the suspended Clement Lenglet.

There were just a few seconds off the clock when the first chance was registered, when a crackling effort from Puertas forced Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a stretch save.

Barcelona settled in soon enough and had some good fortune go their way to find the opening score. Sergio Busquets looked to a play a pass into Pedri, but it was deflected by a Granada defender and fell to the alert Griezmann, who fired into goal to make it 1-0.

Griezmann then got to play the role of provider, as he led a counterattack that ended with a dish to Messi and the Argentine sweetly hitting a left-footer that curled into the top left corner for a 2-0 lead. The play was not controversy though, as replays showed the ball striking Busquets' arm before the Barcelona break, however in the end, the goal stood.

A foul on Pedri just outside the area gifted Messi a freekick from where he likes it best, and instead of going top corner, Messi fired his effort that somehow found its way through a sea of legs and beat Rui Silva in the Granada goal for a 3-0 Barcelona lead.

Messi's second of the night pretty much sealed things for Barcelona, but there was still an entire half to play and Griezmann was keen to make the most of his slump-busting night, as he tacked on his second with a strong finish off a rainbow pass from Dembele to extend it to 4-0.

Messi leaving as a substitute is a rarity, but that's the decision Koeman made did midway through the half and with a four-goal lead intact, swapping off the Argentine for Martin Braithwaite, while Miralem Pjanic replaced Frenkie de Jong. Later on, Trincao and the little-used Riqui Puig were thrown into the fray for Pedri and Dembele, respectively.

Granada's woes were then capped with a sending off for Real Madrid product Sergio Vallejo, who clipped Braithwaite right outside the box as the last man in defence, leaving the Andalusian hosts with 10 men.

It was a training session the rest of the way for Koeman's men, who easily finished things off to collect another three points.

Match Sheet

0.- Granada: Rui Silva; Foulquier, Duarte, German, Neva (Vallejo, min. 46); Eteki, Montoro (Milla, min. 46); Puertas, Herrera (Soro, min. 67), Machis (Kenedy, min. 65); Soldado (Luis Suarez, min. 46)

4.- Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Firpo, min. 81), Umtiti, Mingueza, Jordi Alba; Busquets, De Jong (Pjanic, min. 65), Pedri (Trincao, min. 73); Dembele (Riqui Puig, min. 73), Messi (Braithwaite, min. 65), Griezmann

Goals: 0-1, min. 12: Griezmann; 0-2, min. 35: Messi; 0-3, min. 43: Messi; 0-4, min. 64: Griezmann

Referee: De Burgos Bengoextea (Basque). Yellow Cards: Soldado (Min. 45) for Granada, Mingueza (Min. 50) for Barcelona, Luis Suarez (Min. 73) for Granada, Busquets (Min. 82) for Barcelona, Alba (Min. 87) for Barcelona

Red cards: Vallejo (Min. 78) for Granada

Stadium: Los Carmenes

Attendance: 0

Source: Marca / Arch Bell

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