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Barcelona blow chance to go top of La Liga after shock defeat to Granada

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman lamented his side’s inefficiency at both ends of the pitch as they blew the opportunity to go top of La Liga on Thursday by losing 2-1 to Granada at Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi, who opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 before Darwin Machís and Jorge Molina were left in acres of space to turn the match on its head in the second half.

Barça’s second defeat in 23 games means they are no longer in charge of their own destiny in the title race.

“We lost our focus in the second half and made errors at the back,” Koeman told Movistar. “We need to accept the fact we’ve lost, that’s the reality of things. We had chances to win the game, but that’s that. We’ve got five more games to go and each of the sides (in the title race) will have difficulties moving forwards.

“We’re still in the mix and have a chance. We need to accept this, move on and prepare for the next one. We tried but weren’t able to make many chances when they scored their goals. They closed shop well and we couldn’t create.”

Koeman’s day got worse as he was sent off by referee Pablo González Fuertes in the aftermath of Machís’s 63rd-minute equalizer and will now be unable to sit on the bench for this weekend’s trip to former club Valencia as well as next week’s title showdown with Atlético. “I don’t understand why they sent me off,” Koeman stated.

“They said it was for disrespecting the fourth official. I’d like to know what I’m supposed to have said. He’s the one who is rude towards me. If they put something I haven’t said in the referee’s report then I’ll have to do something.”

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