A year has lasted the journey of Granada in Second Division. The Andalusian team, which reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League in the 2020-21 season, falling to Manchester United, will play its 27th season in the top flight. With Antonio Puertas as a symbol, Uzuni as a scorer, the work of coach Paco López and great reliability in their stadium, the Andalusians are back. "We deserve it after a year of much suffering," said José Callejón amid the euphoria that was experienced in Los Cármenes. The victory against Leganés, with goals from Uzuni (23 goals and top scorer in the category) and Bryan Zaragoza, unleashed the joy of the Granada fans.
Granada was already able to go up last day in Miranda, where they won 1-3 and a goal from Levante in the last minute deprived the Andalusian team of promotion. Granada returns to the First Division and the joy was unleashed in a very football-loving city. In the minds of the most veteran fans also emerged the formidable Granada of the seventies, with eight consecutive seasons in First and sixth classified in 1972.
Granada reinvented itself last summer, after relegation. The club's Chinese ownership dispensed with the club's top executives and appointed Sophia Yang as president. The course of the relegation had been traumatic, with a season with four coaches (Robert Moreno, Rubén Torrecilla and Aitor Karanka), two general directors and two sporting directors. The new sports managers decided to keep Karanka on the bench. Granada dispensed with important players such as goalkeeper Maximiano, Milla, Escudero, Gonalons, Montoro, Duarte, Luis Suárez or Machís. He incorporated players more accustomed to the Second as Ignasi Mikel, goalkeeper Raul, Bodiger, Cabaco or Rubio. At the same time, an illustrious as Callejón arrived as a star signing and the entity had the ability to strengthen itself in the winter market with the arrival of Weismann, from Valladolid.
The Andalusian team, led by Paco López from day 15 to replace Karanka, has based its return to First in a spectacular fortress in its fiefdom, where it has not known defeat. The overall balance is tremendous, with 17 wins and four draws, which make it, logically, the best team at home in a very equal category, where the aspirants to promotion have barely obtained victories in the last days, creating a situation of extreme uncertainty.
The most decisive player of Granada has been the Albanian Uzuni. Signed in the winter market last year, from Ferencvaros, the striker has had a spectacular role in Granada. His 23 goals have made him the top scorer of Segunda and every time he scored, his team won or at least drawn. Next to Uzuni, Callejón and the veteran Puertas have contributed goals and experience to lead Granada to the First Division, even overcoming hard moments such as the serious injury of Jorge Molina, who broke his knee with 41 years being a reference in the dressing room. And positive news also arrived, such as the irruption of the young Bryan Zaragoza. A footballer of special talent and quality with only 21 years who has dazzled the Andalusian fans.
Granada started the season in exemplary fashion, winning the first three league matches. The second, however, is a complicated category. The good that Karanka's team offered at home was diluted away from Los Cármenes with very hard defeats such as that of Eibar (4-0). Granada fell to ninth place on matchday nine, but the leaders continued to believe in Karanka. Until a run of three games without winning (two draws and one defeat) ended the Basque's stage on the bench on the 15th day. Paco López took command of the Andalusian team.
The team won in regularity, showing a certain lack of competitiveness away from home, but making Los Cármenes a real fortress. The regularity of the Andalusians between days 24 and 33, with 10 days without losing (eight wins and two draws) consolidated him definitively in the high positions of the table. The last draws against Eibar and Alavés and the triumphs against Lugo, Mirandés and Leganés have done the rest. Granada is once again in the First Division and Andalusia, for the time being, will have five representatives in the highest category of Spanish football.
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