Barcelona's shock defeat against Granada keeps La Liga title race wide open

Barcelona was stunned 11 minutes from time when substitute Jorge Molina headed in from close range to secure a first-ever away win at Barcelona for Diego Martinez's side.

Barca's second defeat in 23 games means it is no longer in charge of its own destiny in the title race.   -  Getty Images

Barcelona suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Granada on Thursday to blow the chance of moving top of La Liga.

Things started well for the Catalans, who took the lead on 23 minutes after Antoine Griezmann teed up Lionel Messi for his 26th league goal of the season.

The Argentine forward was denied by Granada keeper Aaron Escandell one-on-one shortly afterwards, and it proved to be a vital stop in the context of the game - as well as the title race.

Darwin Machis levelled the scores on 63 minutes after Oscar Mingueza failed to cut out Luis Suarez's through ball and in the aftermath Barca coach Ronald Koeman was sent off by referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes.

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The home side was stunned 11 minutes from time when substitute Jorge Molina headed in from close range to secure a first-ever away win at Barcelona for Diego Martinez's side.

Barca sits third in the standings on 71 points, two points behind league leader Atletico Madrid. It trails great rivals Real Madrid, which also has 71, in second place due to its inferior head-to-head record.

Barca's Koeman bemoans lack of cutting edge in shock Granada loss

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman lamented his side's inefficiency at both ends of the pitch as it blew the chance to go top of La Liga at Camp Nou.

Barca's second defeat in 23 games means it is no longer in charge of its own destiny in the title race.

"We lost our focus in the second half and made errors at the back," Koeman told Movistar.

"We need to accept the fact we've lost, that's the reality of things. We had chances to win the game, but that's that. We've got five more games to go and each of the sides (in the title race) will have difficulties moving forwards.

 

"We now need to prepare ourselves for Sunday's game (away to Valencia). We're still in the mix and have a chance. We need to accept this, move on and prepare for the next one.

"We tried but weren't able to make many chances when they scored their goals. They closed shop well and we couldn't create."

Koeman's day got worse as he was sent off by referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes in the aftermath of Machis's 63rd-minute equaliser and will now be unable to sit on the bench for this weekend's trip to former club Valencia as well as next week's title showdown with Atletico.

"I don't understand why they sent me off," Koeman said. "They said it was for disrespecting the fourth official.

"I'd like to know what I'm supposed to have said. He's the one who is rude towards me. If they put something I haven't said in the referee's report then I'll have to do something."