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Barcelona maintain pressure on Real with 4-1 thrashing of Granada

Barcelona kept up the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid as they won 4-1 at struggling Granada.

Luis Suarez put Barca — without Lionel Messi for this game due to a one-match suspension — in front in the 44th minute with a sublime lobbed finish.

Granada sprung a surprise by levelling five minutes into the second half through Jeremie Boga, before fellow substitute Paco Alcacer restored the visitors’ lead in the 64th minute.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 82nd when Uche Agbo was sent off, and a minute later Ivan Rakitic’s shot went in off Mathieu Saunier, with Neymar then adding a fourth for Luis Enrique’s men in stoppage time.

It means the gap between second-placed Barca and leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand, is back to two points. Real had made it five points earlier on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Alaves at the Bernabeu.

Granada, meanwhile, remain second-bottom, eight points adrift of safety.

Barca made a slow start to the contest, during which Rafinha was forced off with an injury and replaced by Alcacer.

They had the ball in the net in the 24th minute when Suarez’s delightful shot hit the bar and Neymar finished on the follow-up, but the flag was up was for offside.

Granada goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa then did well to parry another shot from Suarez before thwarting the Uruguayan again seconds later.

In the 34th minute Suarez — while being grappled by David Lomban in a manner seemingly meriting a penalty that was not awarded — had another strike saved by Ochoa, and it looked to be shaping up as a fine outing for the Mexican stopper.

But 10 minutes later he was caught out as, from Jordi Alba’s wonderful long pass, Suarez lifted a sensational effort over Ochoa and in.

Granada boss Lucas Alcaraz reacted by bringing Boga, on loan from Chelsea, on for the start of the second half and within minutes the move paid off as the midfielder latched on to a through-ball and slotted home an equaliser.

Moments before that Ochoa had kept out an effort from Alcacer, who would not be denied for long.

The former Valencia man put Barca back ahead when he collected a pass from Suarez and drilled into the net in composed fashion.

Granada were then swiftly killed off late on after Agbo received his marching orders following two yellow cards in quick succession, Barca wrapping things up via Saunier’s own-goal and an easy finish from an Alcacer cross by Neymar, who also subsequently struck the post.

Credit:@PA Sport

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