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Xavi inspires Barca

Madrid: Barcelona’s Xavi, who came in for Thiago Alcantara in the 54th minute, crashed a shot into the top corner three minutes from the end and Lionel Messi forced a stoppage-time own goal as the hosts overcame stubborn Granada 2-0 to maintain their perfect La Liga start on Saturday.

Lowly Granada were organised and dangerous on the break and it was only after Victor Valdes had saved a one-on-one with Fabian Orellana in the 86th minute that Barca finally found a way past inspired visiting goalkeeper Tono.

Xavi cracked a shot in off the underside of the bar in the 87th and Messi’s persistence saw him squirm into the area and strike a low cross that was turned into his own net by Borja Gomez in time added on.

Barca moved on to 15 points from five games. “Every victory is important. Maybe we struggled more than on other days but we have to know how to get through these games,” Barca fullback Dani Alves said. (Reuters)