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Barcelona edge past Granada despite being 2/11 favourites in Quique Setien’s first match in charge

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A late Lionel Messi goal gave Quique Setien his first win as a Barcelona manager in his debut match as manager.

The Blaugrana were heavy 2/11 favourites to beat Granada, who were 20/1 to cause a shock upset but had to grind to secure three points.

Barca are still on top of the La Liga standings despite just having sacked Ernesto Valverde, albeit on the same points tally as rivals Real Madrid.

Granada knew that it would be difficult to gain something from this game so were content to sit back and let Barcelona dominate possession.

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Piraeus, Greece – October 31, 2017: Player of Barcelona Lionel Messi in action during the UEFA Champions League game between Olympiacos vs FC Barcelona at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium

Setien’s side had an astonishing 83% possession and had completed just over 1000 passes, which was 5 times as much as Granada.

17-year-old Ansu Fati, the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history, had the first good chance for Barcelona. The teenager started up front to replace the injured Luis Suarez and forced the keeper into a good strike after having cut in on his right foot.

Superstar Messi also had a good chance to open the scoring as he arrived late into the box to connect with Jordi Alba’s cutback, only for it to hit the side netting.

In the second half, the Argentinian curled an effort from distance, despite slipping on the follow-through,  but went just past the post.

However, it was Granada who went closest with Yan Eteki striking a shot from outside the box that beat keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen but cannoned of the bottom of the left post.

Diego Martinez’s side had a difficult task to topple Barca but it was made even more so after defender German Sanchez was given a second yellow card and thus, a red card in the 69th minute.

Just 7 minutes later, Barcelona found a much-needed breakthrough via their talisman and captain Messi. The 31-year-old completed an impressive Barca move with midfielder Arturo Vidal finding Messi with a great backheel which the diminutive forward slotted past the keeper with his weaker right foot.

Messi and Antoine Griezmann both had further opportunities to double Barcelona’s lead but failed to do so.

The Blaugrana were able to see off 10-man Granada in the final few minutes giving Setien a debut win in a game that they largely dominated despite the scoreline not showing it.

Barcelona and Granada both go away to top-four contenders Valencia and Sevilla in their next match-up respectively.

I am a passionate football fan studying in Swansea University. I have written for a number of football based publications including 90min. You can contact me via my email here, or connect and view my linkdin profile

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