Despite the absence of several injured starters, including super-striker Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona put its depth of talent on display in a 4-0 rout of Granada here Saturday.
The Spanish-league powerhouse came out at Camp Nou determined to show it has plenty of firepower without the Argentine four-time world player of the year, who is expected to out for the rest of 2013 with a hamstring injury.
Head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino put Brazilian star Neymar in Messi's position, supported on either side by Alexis Sanchez and Pedro Rodriguez. That formation, combined with the offensive potential of Cesc Fabregas on the second line, gave the Blaugrana lots of possibilities in attack.
Barça's pressure paid off quickly and led to two penalties in the area, both of them unnecessary. Andres Iniesta converted the first at the 20-minute mark, while Fabregas knocked home the other in the 40th minute to give the squad a comfortable lead at halftime.
Barcelona's players continued to dominate ball possession in their typical fashion in the second half and deftly worked their way past Granada's defenders to create scoring chances.
Sanchez got the third goal in the 72nd minute off a pass from Neymar, while Pedro finished off the scoring after receiving a cross from Fabregas in the 90th minute.
Besides Messi, Barcelona also was playing without three other injured players: goalkeeper Victor Valdes, star midfielder Xavi and defenseman Dani Alves.
With the win, the Catalans improved their league mark to 13 wins, one draw and no losses.
They lead the La Liga standings with 40 points, although Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid - both of which are in action Saturday - are within striking distance. EFE