For a full 90 minutes on Saturday, Barcelona were able to forget about their injury woes, capturing a 4-0 victory over Granada in La Liga play at Nou Camp.
In an overly physical matchup, Andres Iniesta fired off a penalty in the 35th and Cesc Fabregas notched one in the 40th for the early lead, and Barcelona never looked back. It was the sixth goal of the season for Fabregas and the first for Iniesta.
Assisted by Neymar, forward Alexis Sanchez scored in the 71st minute, and is now tied with Lionel Messi for the team lead with eight goals this season. Pouring on a fast break in the 90th, Pedro fired off a right-footed shot to the bottom left corner off an assist from Fabregas.
A number of the Catalans stars were held out due to knocks, including Messi, Xavi, and regular keeper Victor Valdes, but they prevailed by capitalizing on Granada’s early blunders.
Meanwhile, Sergio Busquets and Neymar were each issued first-half yellow cards. The two clubs combined for 38 fouls, four yellows, and one red card.
Granada’s Manuel Iturra and Youssef El Arabi were also booked in the first half, but defender Pape Diakhate and midfielder Fran Rico committed the key errors that handed Iniesta and Fabregas their goal opportunities.
Iturra was later issued his second yellow card and sent off after committing a rough foul on Pedro, and Granada played with a man down for the final 24 minutes.
Since their promotion to La Liga back in 2011, Granda has lost five straight matches to Barcelona.
Jose Manuel Pinto filled in for Valdes and the 38-year-old earned three saves in his first La Liga start since last season’s finale.
Granada’s Roberto also made three saves off eight Barcelona shots on target. His team’s attack was only able to squeeze off three shots on target, despite forcing seven corner kicks.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.