Barca stage thrilling late fightback to beat Granada

Barcelona survived a huge scare to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals with dramatic 5-3 extra-time victory at Granada.

Granada were 2-0 up with two minutes of normal time remaining thanks to goals in each half from Kenedy and former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado, but Antoine Griezmann inspired Barca’s thrilling late fightback.

The Frenchman reduced the arrears on 88 minutes before setting up Jordi Alba’s stoppage-time equaliser as the 30-time winners forced extra-time.

Griezmann then gave Barca the lead in the tie for the first time in the 100th minute but Granada fought back to level swiftly through Fede Vico.

But as penalties loomed, Frenkie de Jong restored Barca’s lead before Alba added a stunning second – volleying in another Griezmann assist – to send Ronald Koeman’s side into the last four.

How Barca mounted glorious, late Granada fightback

Jordi Alaba celebrates his goal for Barcelona at Granada
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Jordi Alba celebrates his goal for Barcelona at Granada

Koeman has spoken of the importance of winning the Copa del Rey this season as his side’s chances of catching La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid keep fading, and he backed up his words by naming a strong line-up.

He fielded Lionel Messi, Griezmann and De Jong from the start and even picked Marc-Andre ter Stegen over usual Copa del Rey keeper Neto, although it counted for little as clinical Granada pounced on two Barca mistakes to take the lead.

Defender Samuel Umtiti lost possession on the left-hand side of his area and Alberto Soro quickly delivered a ball into the box which Brazilian midfielder Kenedy knocked past Ter Stegen from close range.

Barcelona were 2-0 down going into the 88th minute of the tie
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Barcelona were 2-0 down going into the 88th minute of the tie

Veteran striker Soldado then latched on to a long ball from Angel Montoro, who had dispossessed Griezmann, easily beating Umtiti for pace before confidently slotting into the net.

The Frenchman made amends with his late goal which gave Barca a lifeline while Messi smacked the post moments later, the third time Barca had hit the woodwork, before Alba’s headed equaliser.

Granada had one final chance to snatch a winner in the dying seconds of normal time when Colombian forward Luis Suarez raced clear but arrowed his shot inches wide of the far post.

Barca showed their class in the extra period as Granada’s legs gave in, giving the Catalans another shot at Copa del Rey glory.

Koeman relishes eight-goal thriller

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman: “Football is incredible. We had chances to win the game far sooner, but we put in an enormous effort, at the end of the second half and in extra-time, showing the mentality of a real team.”

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