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Barça Overcomes Late 2-Goal Deficit, Awful PK Call On Dest To Advance In Copa Del Rey, 5-3

A wild quarterfinal ended with eight goals, none from Lionel Messi, who was nonetheless influential.

Barcelona racked up 79 percent possession and 36 shots (20 on goal) in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey match against Granada, 29 more shots that the host. The end result was a 5-3 victory that was anything but easy, despite the final score and the wildly mismatched statistics. 

Granada led 2-0 in the 87th minute before a late, great rally from the Blaugrana forced extra time. Barcelona took the lead only to concede a weak penalty before finally taking control in the second half of extra time with two more goals, the final a delicious connection between Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann. Lionel Messi didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he was nonetheless influential, including the assist on Barça’s first goal to start the comeback.

Granada vs Barcelona Copa Del Rey Highlights

Kenedy, a flop at Chelsea and Newcastle, put Granada in front in the 33rd minute after a giveaway in defense as Barcelona tried to play out of the back.

Stunningly, it was 2-0 moments into the second half when Roberto Soldado, a Tottenham flop, managed to beat the entire Barcelona defense thanks to one magnificent pass from Ángel Montoro. 

Barcelona huffed and puffed but couldn’t break down Granada’s defense for most of the opening 90 minutes. 

The breakthrough finally came in the 88th minute when Messi picked out Griezmann at the back post. The Frenchman was a bit fortunate his shot bounced off the keeper and in, but it gave the visitors a late lifeline.

It was a similar play that equalized in the second of four added minutes. Messi played a ball to Griezmann, who this time headed across to Jordi Alba to head home a dramatic late goal.

Griezmann then headed in a cross from Alba to give Barcelona its first lead in the 100th minute, but three minutes later Granada equalized. American Sergiño Dest was penalized for a weak foul in the box — very weak, from our American perspective. Dest barely nudged Carlos Neva with his shoulder, but the referee deemed it sufficient for a penalty kick and Fede Vico converted to make it 3-3 at halftime of extra time.

But Barcelona wasn’t done.

Frenkie de Jong was first to reach a rebound from a Messi shot for what proved to be the winner in the 108th minute.

And Barça capped things off with the goal of the match in the 113th.

Griezmann used the outside of his left foot to chip a pass to Alba, who also used the outside of his left foot to blast a shot just inside the near post with a stunning volley.

It was a thrilling victory for Barcelona, but one that probably took more energy and effort than coach Ronald Koeman would have preferred. The Blaugrana are back in LaLiga action on Sunday against Real Betis. 

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