Granada 2-0 Barcelona: Pressure mounts on Ernesto Valverde after dismal defeat
Last Updated: 21/09/19 10:49pm
Newly-promoted Granada moved to the top of La Liga with a sensational 2-0 home win over Barcelona, who slipped to their second league defeat of the season.
With Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati on the bench, Barcelona fell behind inside a minute as Ramon Azeez headed the opening goal.
Messi and Fati were summoned at half-time but Granada maintained their performance levels after the break and with 25 minutes remaining won a penalty when Arturo Vidal conceded a needless handball. Alvaro Vadillo stroked home the spot-kick and Barcelona, who only had their first shot on target in the final 10 minutes, had no response.
The Catalans, who have failed to win any of their last seven away games in all competitions, are seventh in the La Liga standings with seven points after five matches, while Granada sit on the summit with 10 points.
Second-placed Sevilla also have 10 points and can go clear at the top when they face Real Madrid on Sunday, while Atletico Madrid are third on 10 points after drawing 0-0 with Celta Vigo.
The hosts went ahead in the second minute through Azeez.
Roberto Soldado robbed Junior Firpo, fed Antonio Puertas and his cross was headed in by the striker from close range, leaving Barca trailing for the fourth time in five league matches.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made a fine save to push Puertas' shot wide as Granada attempted to double their advantage.
Yangel Herrera, on loan from Manchester City, fired over before Barca had their first attempt on goal on the stroke of half-time, with Luis Suarez having a shot blocked.
Valverde shook things up at half-time, bringing on Messi and Fati for Junior and Carles Perez.
But Granada refused to be overawed and almost went 2-0 up following a howler from Ter Stegen.
The goalkeeper, under no pressure at all, dropped a catch before recovering to smother the ball before it went over the goal-line.
Granada did double their advantage in the 66th minute, though, Vadillo converting from the penalty spot following a handball from Vidal, who had just come on as a substitute.
Messi tried in vain to haul Barcelona back into the game, sending in numerous crosses that came to nothing and having a shot saved by Rui Silva.
Atletico Madrid were held to a goalless draw by Celta Vigo at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Goalkeeper Ruben Blanco was in inspired form for the visitors, producing several fine saves.
Blanco kept out Felipe's header in the first half and then acrobatically tipped over Renan Lodi's thunderous strike from distance.
Blanco also denied Koke while Lodi fizzed an effort across the face of the goal late on as Atletico, now third in the table, were frustrated.
Villarreal left it late to beat Real Valladolid 2-0 and move up to fourth.
The home side finally made the breakthrough in the 77th minute through Santi Cazorla.
The former Arsenal midfielder converted from the penalty spot after Javier Ontiveros was brought down by Mohammed Salisu in the area.
And after Ruben Pena hit the post with a stunning 25-yard volley, Ontiveros netted a second a minute from time.
The midfielder headed in his maiden goal for the club from Samuel Chukwueze's cross to secure Villarreal's first home win of the campaign.
Eibar are second bottom after a goalless draw with Levante.