2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Rafinha (48')

Rafinha strike enough for Barcelona in game of missed chances

Rafinha scored the only goal as Barcelona moved up to second in La Liga with a laboured 1-0 victory over struggling Granada at the Nou Camp.

The Brazilian struck in the 48th minute, pouncing on a rebound after Neymar hit a post, as Barca finally made their dominance of possession count against the bottom side.

Luis Enrique's men struggled to create meaningful chances throughout, with the normally clinical Luis Suarez enduring a particularly frustrating night.

Nevertheless, the result was good enough to take advantage of Sevilla's slip earlier on Saturday to move up to second behind leaders Real Madrid.

The first half was a tight affair. Barcelona controlled most of the ball but were constantly repelled by Granada, whose performance was encouraging even though it was lacking in ambition. The hosts managed only two attempts on goal before the break.

Both sides were also caught out by offside flags on numerous occasions as the game lacked fluency.

Suarez spurned a gilt-edged opportunity after being put through on goal as he cut inside and allowed Ruben Vezo to make a tackle.

The former Liverpool striker also slipped attempting a volley, had an effort pushed away by Guillermo Ochoa and missed the target with another.

Lionel Messi was well marshalled but did deliver one inviting cross, only for Ivan Rakitic to head it wide.

Rafinha had a shot deflected away from goal and Samuel Umtiti headed another opportunity straight at Ochoa.

The breakthrough finally came after the restart.

Messi carried the ball into the box and pushed it wide for Rafinha, who in turn slipped Neymar in on goal. The Brazil star's shot struck the woodwork but Rafinha reacted quickly to fling himself into the air and score with an overhead kick.

That could have opened the floodgates but Granada refused to crumble and dangerous Barcelona breaks remained few and far between.

The hosts did create another opening after 62 minutes when Sergi Roberto broke clear down the right and found Neymar with a deep cross but Ochoa smothered his shot.

Suarez failed to find the target again when he was presented with a free header from a Javier Mascherano cross and could only aim straight at Ochoa.

Messi also had an off-night, hitting a free kick from a promising position at the wall and then scooping a chance well over the crossbar in the closing minutes.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Real Madrid 27 +43 65
2 Barcelona 28 +56 63
3 Sevilla FC 28 +18 57
4 Atletico Madrid 28 +29 55
5 Villarreal 28 +19 48
6 Real Sociedad 28 +3 48
7 Athletic Bilbao 28 +3 44
8 Eibar 28 +5 41
9 Espanyol 28 +1 40
10 Alavés 28 -4 40
11 Celta Vigo 27 -5 38
12 Las Palmas 28 -1 35
13 Real Betis 28 -13 31
14 Valencia 28 -13 30
15 Málaga 28 -12 27
16 Deportivo La Coruña 28 -12 27
17 Leganes 28 -19 26
18 Sporting Gijón 28 -26 21
19 Granada 28 -33 19
20 Osasuna 28 -39 11

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