FC Barcelona was dealt with a major blow in their bid for the Spanish La Liga title. Not only did they suffer a 1-2 loss against Granada on Thursday, their head coach Ronald Koeman was also sent off for allegedly insulting one of the match officials.

Hopes were high for Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Thursday, with the club looking at the opportunity to go on top of the table. However, it was not meant to be despite a brilliant first half goal by captain Lionel Messi.

Sergio Busquets and Antoine Griezmann worked well with the Argentine to produce the opening goal, but several missed opportunities for a second proved to be fatal. The Catalans still looked strong in the second half, but the momentum completely changed after a strike from Darwin Machis gave the visitors the equaliser.

Koeman was seen venting his frustration and referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes decided to show him a red card.

"I don't understand it. According to Carlos Naval, I disrespected the fourth official, but I didn't say anything bad," said Koeman, when he spoke to the press after the match. In fact, he claims that it was the referee who disrespected him and not the other way around.

"I didn't insult him. It's incredible. But if the fourth official wants to be the centre of attention... I said something, but with all due respect. He responded to me in a way that wasn't so nice."

Following the red card, Granada scored the winner thanks to a Jorge Molina header. The result makes a major dent on Barcelona's title hopes, after having been seen as the favourites just days before. Atletico Madrid now leads with 73 points, but are still only just two points ahead of both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Sevilla is also just another point behind with 70 points.

Barcelona will be facing Valencia next, with Koeman likely to be suspended for the match.

Ronald Koeman
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman AFP / Josep LAGO