Barca scrap to home draw as fans stay away

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo heads home their equaliser against Granada in La Liga.
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo heads home their equaliser against Granada in La Liga.

Barcelona have limped to a 1-1 draw at home with lowly Granada in La Liga, needing defender Ronald Araujo's last-minute header to rescue a point.

With only 27,000 out of a possible 40,000 fans at the Camp Nou, those in attendance were stunned into silence after 85 seconds as Domingos Duarte rose at the back post to head in Sergio Escudero's cross.

Sergi Roberto struck the post with a volley midway through the first half as Barca huffed and puffed to get back into the game.

Araujo forced Luis Maximiano into a full-length stop on the stroke of halftime as the Catalans resorted to getting balls into the box, racking up 54 crosses from open play.

Coach Ronald Koeman introduced striker Luuk de Jong at the break to act as target man and he was joined up top by veteran centre-half Gerard Pique when he was brought on 15 minutes from time as the hosts grew increasingly desperate.

De Jong somehow contrived to miss from close range as it appeared it was going to be another frustrating night for Barca.

However, Araujo's header rescued a point in the final minute of normal time from 17-year-old substitute Gavi's cross as the hosts finally got some reward for their dominance in possession.

The result left Barca in seventh place on eight points, five behind leaders Real Madrid although they have a game in hand over the capital club.

"They (Granada) wasted time from as soon as they scored," Koeman said.

"There wasn't a lot of space to play short, delicate balls as they defended with every man back.

"There was space on the wings to cross, and we had tall players in there and that's what we did.

"At least we managed to get a draw, even if we have dropped two points."

Granada, meanwhile, remain without a win and are in 17th spot on three points from five matches.

"Earning a point at Camp Nou is always good but we came close to getting the three points," Duarte said.

"In the end they had many chances too. It was a fair result."

Australian Associated Press