FC Barcelona gave new manager Quique Setien a winning start with a 1-0 triumph over Granada in LaLiga on Sunday night.
Setien’s very first Barca eleven saw a return in defence for Samuel Umtiti and a start in the front-three for teen protégé Ansu Fati after his bit-part role under Ernesto Valverde.
Barca looked to carve an opening towards the 20th minute, but Arturo Vidal who brought down Lionel Messi’s ball in the area failed to break the deadlock following a clear opportunity.
Another inviting chance for the Catalans went astray as a low cross from Jordi Alba evaded contact with a lurking Fati at the back post following the midway mark.
Granada remained on the edge, whilst Antoine Griezmann flashed the side-netting from a tight angle after getting onto a cross from the left before the interval.
Barca maintained momentum right after halftime, as Messi drilled a low shot from the area narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
Granada gave Barca a big scare on 66 minutes when Yan Brice Eteki’s low shot near the area hit the foot of the post before bouncing back into play.
The visitors finished with a man down after German Sanchez received a second yellow for a poor challenge on Messi four minutes later.
Setien raised eyebrows in the last 20 minutes, giving a first run out of the season to Riqui Puig in place of Ivan Rakitic.
Barca went ahead on 75 minutes when slick-passing moves around the area found Messi who rolled the ball into an empty net with Puig at the heart of the move.
The reigning champions were on course for more later on, but had to settle for one goal to give Setien a perfect start.