Lionel Messi scored his third and fourth goal in just two games to inspire Barcelona to a 4-0 away win over Granada and draw the Catalans to within two points of Real Madrid.
Ronald Koeman was forced into a late change before kick-off when Ronald Araujo suffered an injury in the warm-up, with Samuel Umtiti handed the start in his place, but this didn’t stop Barca from starting well.
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring after 12 minutes, albeit in controversial circumstances when he finished after a deflected pass came his way. The Frenchman was offside when the ball was played, but the goal was allowed to stand after a VAR review.
Messi scored Barca’s second in trademark fashion, cutting inside on to his left before curling home a strike. And the Argentine netted again just before half time, going low under the wall from a freekick 20 yards out.
Griezmann added his second, and Barcelona’s fourth, of the night in the second half, latching on to an Ousmane Dembele scooped pass over the top before firing a low, opportunistic finish past Silva. Jesus Vallejo was shown a red card late on as Granada finished the match with 10 men.
The result takes Barcelona on to 34 points in the La Liga table, just two points behind Real Madrid who face Osasuna on Saturday evening. The postponement of Atletico Madrid’s home game against Athletic Club due to snow sees Barca move within four points of top spot.