Ronald Araujo’s late equaliser spares Barcelona’s blushes against Granada
Ronald Araujo came to Barcelona’s rescue with a last-gasp equaliser to deny lowly Granada a second successive La Liga victory at the Camp Nou. Araujo struck in the final minute of normal time amid concerted pressure, to cancel out Domingos Duarte’s early opener and spare his side’s blushes as the game finished 1-1.
The home crowd had been stunned into silence within two minutes of kick-off when Duarte headed Sergio Escudero’s corner past Barcelona’s goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and into the net. Jorge Molina went close to a second for the visitors but Sergi Roberto was denied at the other end by the crossbar and Memphis Depay failed to round off a quick break as the Catalan giants turned the screw.
Araujo, Sergino Dest and substitute Óscar Mingueza all went close with half-time approaching, but Barcelona went in at the break trailing. Araujo and Depay threatened again as the second half wore on, but Granada’s goalkeeper Luis Maximiano and his defenders held firm.
The substitute Luuk De Jong headed just over from close range with 11 minutes remaining before Maximiano saved superbly from Araujo. Gerard Pique, also on as a substitute, was thrown into an attacking role as the home side fought desperately for a way back which finally arrived in the final minute of the game with Araujo’s leveller.
“They [Granada] wasted time from as soon as they scored,” bemoaned Ronald Koeman, Barcelona’s head coach. “There wasn’t a lot of space to play short, delicate balls as they defended with every man back. There was space on the wings to cross, and we had tall players in there and that’s what we did. At least we managed to get a draw, even if we have dropped two points.”
The result leaves Barcelona in seventh on eight points from four matches, five behind leaders Real Madrid who have played a game more. Granada, meanwhile, remain without a win and are in 17th spot on three points from five matches.