Quique Sánchez Flores made a perfect start as our head coach with a comprehensive 3-0 victory away against Andalusian rivals Granada CF, who came into the game two positions below us in LaLiga. But, ultimately, a much-improved performance proved too strong for the Nazaríes as we picked up a much-needed victory.
After a quiet first 20 minutes to Sánchez Flores’s debut, chaos was unleashed in the away end as Adrià Pedrosa gave us the lead. Back in the starting lineup after injury, Suso turned brilliantly to beat his man in midfield before feeding Pedrosa on the left-hand side. He then fired in a shot that took a looping deflection and into the far corner of the net. Our first goal under Quique Sánchez Flores and a 1-0 lead at the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes after 23 minutes.
We didn’t have to wait long for the second to come along and what a goal it was. Lucas Ocampos picked up the ball with time and space inside the Granada half and drove towards the penalty area. With the home defenders reluctant to close him down, the Argentinian tried his luck from 25 yards, unleashing a tracer bullet into the top-right corner. Unstoppable. One for the highlights reel!
Our 2-0 lead started to suck the life out of the home crowd, but the Granada players kept pushing in the hope of halving the deficit before half time. Lucas Boyé had a header which was comfortably saved by Dmitrovic before Puertas showcased his skill and trickery to make space in the penalty area, only to be denied by a great Ramos block inside the 6-yard box.
The last chance of the half fell to Pedrosa in added time. Looking to claim his second of the game, his powerful shot from the left side of the box crashed into the underside of the bar but bounced away to safety. Despite this, Sánchez Flores will have been delighted with his first forty-five as head coach.
It was more one way traffic in the second half as we raced out of the blocks. 2-0 was clearly not enough for the new coach. In the 49th minute Suso swung in a dangerous free kick from the left for Ramos, our captain on the night, to rise highest and power a header past the helpless Ferreira and into the Granada net.
Ramos's fourth goal in his past six appearances sealed the victory shortly after the break
Just after the hour mark, Dmitrovic made a fine stop to make sure that the clean sheet stayed intact. Antonio Puertas was unmarked at the back post but the Serbian reacted quickly to smother him and block his effort.
With twenty minutes left to play, referee Mateo Busquets Ferrer gave us a scare as Manu Bueno, who had just come on as a substitute, was sent off. However, a VAR review correctly overturned the decision.
A red card would have been the only blemish on an otherwise perfect performance. We were full value for the three points as we move up to 13th in the league ahead of a trip to the capital to face Atlético Madrid on Saturday. Three points and a clean sheet – a perfect start under Quique Sánchez Flores.