Barcelona, January 10
First it was Pedro “Pedri” Gonzalez shining with his assists. Then the injury-prone Ousmane Dembele earned a spot in the attack. Now the oft-maligned Antoine Griezmann is back to scoring goals.
All in all, Barcelona are slowly showing signs this season might not be a wash after all.
Griezmann scored a brace and set up Lionel Messi for one of the Argentine’s two goals on Saturday to lead Barcelona to a 4-0 win at Granada.
Barcelona’s first three-match winning run in the league under Ronald Koeman put them four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, whose home game scheduled for Saturday against Athletic Bilbao was postponed due to a blizzard that has shut down the capital and made transit almost impossible through much of central Spain.
“Our situation is still complicated, but the team is betting better. We have had three games on the road and won all three,” Koeman said. “We are more focused from the start of the games now, and when we are focused and move the ball with pace, there are few teams that can control us.”
Second-placed Real Madrid were one point behind Atletico after being held at Osasuna to 0-0 in a match played in steady snowfall and with barely any scoring chances for either side. Atletico have three more games to play than its top title rivals.
Two Times Two
Griezmann got Barcelona started with his first goal in nearly a month in the 12th minute when a pass by Sergio Busquets was deflected to him by a Granada defender. Griezmann set up Messi to double the lead with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area in the 36th.
Messi got his league-leading 11th goal in the 42nd when he drove a free kick under two players who jumped in the defensive barrier. It was his first goal from a free kick this season. Griezmann rounded off the big win in the 64th when he beat goalkeeper Rui Silva from a tight angle after Dembele played him clear with a lobbed pass.
It was Griezmann’s first multi-goal game in nearly a year. “They weren’t going in for me, and now they are. I hope they keep coming,” Griezmann said.
Real Madrid’s only decent chance to breaking down Osasuna’s disciplined defence was Marco Asensio’s shot from distance early in the second half that goalie Sergio Herrera did well to parry.
“We cannot be happy because we want to fight for the title and today’s draw does not help,” Madrid’s Toni Kroos said. “With the talent we have, we have to create more opportunities.” AP/PTI