analysis | 2016-05-16
Match Report: Granada 0:3 Barcelona - Following Johan Cruyff's footsteps
Barcelona wins their 24th league title by giving a lesson of perseverance and unity
Barcelona had at Granada the challenge of winning a league that seemed sentenced in March and lost in April, when they were defeated by Valencia at the Camp Nou. Since then, there was nothing but victories and crushing dominance against every opponent.
Granada had nothing to play for, but wanted to compete and be a protagonist. Their coach, José González, changed the usual system: left Cuenca out, played a three man midfield and aimed for the speed and self-sufficiency of El-Arabi and Peñaranda in offensive transitions. But not even the earliness of Madrid’s first goal made Barcelona shake, as they’re used to play many finals and to win most of them in recent years.
The dominance in the early stages of the match turned into goals. The first, after a great association on the left side until Jordi Alba reached the last line, who served the goal to Luis Suárez in a silver platter. And if the first one was a great display by the Uruguayan and the left back, the second one would come by the right side and a great run by Dani Alves –the dry grass allowed him to reach the ball, and his faith did the rest. 0-2 and the win was well underway. The 24th La Liga was closer.
In the second half, Granada moved their lines forward and had stronger offensive intentions, which resulted in a broken team and, in some occasions, in chaos. Messi took advantage of it to deliver a through-ball towards Neymar, who was completely alone. The Brazilian assisted Suárez so the European Golden Boot could seal his hat-trick and scored his 40th goal, 14 in the last five matches. The striker is the unquestionable protagonist of this tournament. Barcelona were champions once again.
It's the second league in a row (two out of two for Luis Enrique), six in the last eight years and 15 since Johan Cruyff joined the club in 1988. The blaugrana, to that moment, had only won nine. Their tyranny in the domestic competition is defined by the confidence and the faith in the model, in a way to play, the one brought by Johan Cruyff, whose time at Barcelona changed the game, the mentality and also the victories. Now, they come more often.
This is the League of the great Iniesta, of Neymar, who became the leader while Messi wasn't there, of the Argentinian genius who knew what was best for his team every single time, of Luis Enrique’s management, of the inexhaustible scoring hunger of Luis Suárez and, above them all, of a squad that reacted just in time when the crisis and results nearly let go of a league that was thought won and that, once it was almost lost, will be valued as it should always be by those who manage to win the most competitive League in the world.
And this is also the League of Cruyff, always of Cruyff. Because, without him, if his path wasn’t followed, none of this would be happening.
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WRITTEN BY: Ismael Ledesma
Ismael Ledesma coordinates and writes at Martiperarnau.com. He also collaborates with the press department of UD Levante @LevanteUDDM and LevanteUDRadio.