Granada 1-2 Barcelona: Lionel Messi Leads Barcelona Comeback in Granada

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2013

After Granada took the lead early at home, Lionel Messi again became a hero as his brace gave Barcelona a hard fought 2-1 victory.

La Blaugrana did not appear to be at their usual best. The Catalans missed many chances, which will need to be addressed before their encounter with AC Milan midweek.

Granada, however, have proven that they are a very strong side. Relegation will not be an issue to the club as they took Barcelona to the wire.

Let's take a look at just how the match played out and how Messi was yet again the hero of Barcelona.

First Half:

The match in Granada began with little action. Barcelona took nearly 20 minutes to get into their rhythm, but Granada needed no time to run out of the gate.

Early chances came for Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi, but neither was able to find the back of the net. It began to appear as if this would just be one of those nights for the Catalans.

But Granada was strong from the first whistle.

El Grana pushed Barcelona with tremendous confidence in attack. The Granada side looked early to cross the ball to the back post and it slowly began to cause problems for their opponents.

Granada’s Odion Jude Ighalo looked to be the best player on the pitch as he constantly beat multiple defenders to give his side a multitude chances. But for all Ighalo did, the Nigerian deservedly was awarded with a goal.

With nearly 27 minutes gone, Granada again attacked the far post. A cross found former Barcelona player Nolito who played the ball back across the goal for a waiting Ighalo.

The Granada striker tucked the ball home and sent the stadium into a roar as El Grana took the lead.

For Barcelona, the goal was certainly a cold dagger in the chest. La Blaugrana had just began to find their famous rhythm when the goal was conceded and the Barcelona players were visibly upset.

As the rest of the half continued, Barcelona looked to attack even more to brings things level before halftime.

Chances from Messi, Dani Alves and Thiago were all left wanting and the two sides entered halftime with Granada up 1-0.

Second Half:

After a very dismal start to the game, Barcelona took the second half into their own hands. La Blaugrana started strong and things became very dangerous for Granada.

The Catalans were able to equalize early on in the second half, though it was rather unlucky for Granada. Cesc Fábregas fired a rocket from outside the box that was spilled to the feet of Messi. The Argentine finished off the chance and Granada saw their lead vanish.

But the goal did not immediately give Barcelona the game. Granada continued to attack and the Blaugrana defense had moments that could have resulted in giving up a goal.

Alexis Sanchez had a wonderful opportunity to give Barcelona the lead after Cesc found him streaking behind the defense. But the Chilean lost the ball and was immediately subbed off for Cristian Tello.

La Blaugrana created more chances as the game grew older. Pedro was even able to find the back of the net, but was called offside. The call must have fired up Barcelona, because they then took the game over.

Cules everywhere began to feel as though the game was destined for a draw, but Lionel Messi answered the call by doing what he does best.

The Barcelona star stepped up to take a free kick as all eyes were on him. Messi sent the shot past Tono, who should have done better to stop the shot. With Barcelona now up 2-1, the game looked over.

As the second half grew to an end, there was not much action left. Cristian Tello had two wonderful chances that did not come to fruition, but that was mostly it for the Catalans.

In stoppage time, Granada had a brilliant chance to equalize but Victor Valdes played hero and kept his side ahead.

The final whistle blew with Barcelona winning 2-1 in an amazing thriller. Fans everywhere were treated to one of the most exciting encounter in recent weeks, but the final score may have been a bit unfair for Granada.

Barcelona remains the leaders in La Liga with these three points. La Blaugrana look increasingly destined to raise the league trophy at the end of the season. But for Granada, pride was gained against their opponents. 

Was Barcelona deserving of the victory? What will this game mean in the wake of an encounter with AC Milan? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.

Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on twitter for more discussions on Barcelona, Granada, and La Liga.