On a day when Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez failed miserably, the youth products lit up the Camp Nou against Granada on Saturday.
Denis Suarez, Sergi Roberto and Rafinha produced masterful performances, controlling the midfield with panache in the absence of captain Andres Iniesta.
Ivan Rakitic donned Sergio Busquets’s role, screening the defence and distributing diagonal passes to Roberto.
Messi had a forgettable day; he was dispossessed many times by the watchful Granada defenders and also seemed annoyed by the frequent attention he received from the defenders.
Granada, playing a back five, executed its plans perfectly in the first half. Two defenders stayed tight with the Argentinean, preventing him from supplying to Suarez.
Messi did find space to send a long precise ball into the box to the Uruguayan, but the latter failed to connect properly.
The home side got the much-needed goal in the 48th minute as Rafinha found the target with an overhead kick.
Suarez, La Liga’s top scorer with seven goals in 10 matches, missed another opportunity, heading straight to goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the second half.
Granada besieged the home box in the final moments only to find the Barcelona defenders tough to break through.
With this victory, Barcelona moved two points behind leader Real Madrid, which won 4-1 at Alaves.