KEY POINTS

  • Barcelona were held at 1-1 draw by Granada on Monday
  • Ronald Araujo netted an injury-time equalizer for Barca
  • Barcelona are placed eighth in the La Liga table

FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman hailed defender Ronald Araujo after the Uruguayan netted the equalizer against Granada on Monday that helped the hosts secure a point in La Liga. 

Portuguese center-back Domingos Duarte shook the Catalans with his strike that put Granada 1-0 up just two minutes after the kick-off at Camp Nou. Barcelona sent in as many as 54 crosses in search of an equalizer before Araujo finally headed one home in injury time. 

Barcelona dropped points in the league just days after suffering a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich in their Champions League opener. 

In a post-match interview Monday, highlighting Araujo’s importance, Koeman called him a "great professional with an excellent attitude," Spanish publication Marca reported. 

The Barcelona boss, who was accused of betraying Barcelona's attacking traditions and instead of going with a direct approach on the field, went on to say that the current Catalan side is not the same as it was eight years ago. 

"Look at our squad list. We did what we could. We don't have the players from the tiki-taka days. We have to play with our own style. I think we did well and, with some more time, we could have won. The basic system was 4-3-3 in the first half, then I had to make changes based on what I had on the bench. This isn't the Barcelona of eight years ago. That's the way it is," Koeman was quoted by Marca, as saying in an interview, after Barcelona’s 1-1 draw against Granada. 

As Barcelona have started life after Lionel Messi, who left the club to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this summer, are undergoing a major injury crisis. They were without Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, Pedri, Jordi Alba, Sergio Aguero and Ansu Fati for Monday's match.

"When Ansu Fati and Dembele come back then we will be different because we’ll have more depth but they are not fit so we have to find alternatives," added Koeman. Ansu Fati was recently named the new No. 10 of Barcelona following Messi's departure.

The Dutchman acknowledged Granada’s brilliant defense at Camp Nou but also added he can’t be happy with a draw with these opponents. 

Ronald Koeman watched on as Barcelona were beaten at home to Granada on Monday. Ronald Koeman watched on as Barcelona were beaten at home to Granada on Monday. Photo: AFP / LLUIS GENE

"There were no spaces. They defended with a lot of players back. At least we leveled, but it's too bad we dropped two points. You can't be happy with a draw against Granada. We fought and did well in the second half. But from the second minute, they wasted time, and that has to change. We lost a lot of time for nonsense and injuries that weren't injuries. The referee has to cut this out before the 88th minute,” Koeman further said.

With two wins and as many draws, Barcelona are currently placed eighth in the 2021-22 La Liga table, but the Catalans have a game in hand.