Granada stun Messi’s Barcelona to go top of La Liga

BELO HORIZONTE, July 3, 2019 (Xinhua) — Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacts before the Copa America 2019 semifinal match between Argentina and Brazil, held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 2, 2019. (Xinhua/Xin Yuewei)

Granada (Spain), Sep 22 (IANS) FC Barcelona’s all-time top scorer Lionel Messi started from the bench and came on as a halftime substitute as they suffered a shock 0-2 defeat to Granada in a La Liga tie here on Saturday night.

The result saw promoted side Granada climb to the top of the points table with 10 points from five matches.

Meanwhile, this was reigning champion Barcelona’s worst start to a season in 25 years as they remained seventh in the table with seven points from five outings.

Messi, who missed the first few games of the new season as he was recovering from an injury, saw from the dugout Barcelona fall behind in the second minute when Ramon Azeez nodded home the first goal.

Messi and teenage sensation Ansu Fati were thrown into the mix by coach Ernesto Valverde after halftime to restore normalcy, but Granada doubled their advantage in the 66th minute from the penalty spot.

Arturo Vidal, also a second half substitute, handled the ball inside the area and a VAR review spotted that, forcing the referee to point towards the spot. Alvaro Vadillo stepped up and made no mistake to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barcelona could never recover from a two-goal deficit as they succumbed to their second defeat of the season.

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