Real Madrid kept their La Liga title hopes alive by winning a potentially tricky match against Granada 4-1 to move within two points of Atletico Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s side knew only a win would do having watched Atleti beat Real Sociedad the night before and they did their bit by narrowing the gap on their city rivals once more, albeit in nervy fashion.
Luka Modric opened the scoring after 17 minutes, latching on to a wonderful scooped pass over the top by Miguel Gutierrez to dispatch past Rui Silva. And Real Madrid doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time through Rodrygo.
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Granada, however, gave themselves a lifeline with 20 minutes left when Jorge Molina reacted quickest to a Thibaut Courtois save from Luis Suarez to finish on the volley into the empty net.
Alvaro Odriozola spared Real Madrid any nerves soon after by smashing home from an Eden Hazard cut back before Karim Benzema put the finishing touches on the win, scoring a fourth from distance following a mistake by Silva.
The win moves Real Madrid on to 78 points in the table, two points behind Atletico Madrid and two points ahead of Barcelona with just two fixtures of the 2020/21 season left to play.
Benzema celebrates with Zidane
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Real Madrid’s kids produced a grown-up performance
Injuries to Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane meant Real Madrid were missing their first choice back four for this match, forcing Zidane to pick Miguel Gutierrez at left back and Marvin Park at right back. The two youngsters, however, produced a mature performance, with both full backs producing assists. This was a sign of the depth Real Madrid have even if Zidane hasn’t always used that depth this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Without his usual midfield partner alongside him, Modric might have expected a difficult evening, but the Croatian was the best player on the pitch. The 35-year-old, who is out of contract at the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, sent Real Madrid on their way with a well-taken opener and was the driving force through the centre of the pitch for the full 90 minutes. This was the sort of performance that will surely prompt Real Madrid to hand Modric a contract extension before the summer.
Granada - Silva 4, Foulquier 5, Duarte 5, German 4, Quini 5, Eteki 5, Gonalons 4, Machis 5, Puertas 6, Vico 5, Molina 7. Subs - Marin 5, Quina 6, Perez 5, Suarez 7, Soro 5.
Real Madrid - Courtois 8, Marvin 7, Nacho 6, Militao 6, Gutierrez 8, Valverde 7, Casemiro 5, Modric 8, Rodrygo 7, Vinicius 6, Benzema 7. Subs - Isco 5, Hazard 6, Asensio 5, Diaz 4, Odriozola 6.
17’ GOAL! Granada 0-1 Real Madrid: Real Madrid have the opener and it's Modric who has found the back of the net! Gutierrez plays a wonderful chipped pass over the top for the Croatian midfielder who makes no mistake in finding the far corner of the net with a low finish!
45+1’ GOAL! Granada 0-2 Real Madrid: Rodrygo has found the back of the net right at the end of the first half and Real Madrid have a two-goal lead! Marvin did so well down the right side to pass to the Brazilian and he did the rest by finishing low into the far corner! Very good goal!
71’ GOAL! Granada 1-2 Real Madrid: Granada are still in this! They have a goal and is the comeback on? Suarez's initial shot was saved by Courtois, but Molina was alert to the rebound and angled a volley into the back of the gaping net! We have a game on our hands again!
75’ GOAL! Granada 1-3 Real Madrid: A huge goal for Real Madrid and they have restored their two-goal cushion! Hazard burst in behind, his first touch actually let him down, but was still able to cut back the pass for Odriozola who smashed home a finish from 10 yards out!
77’ GOAL! Granada 1-4 Real Madrid: Real Madrid have a fourth goal and that is the points in the bag for the defending La Liga champions! Silva came rushing off his line to intercept a long ball, didn't make the best of connections and Benzema was on hand to finish from distance!
Karim Benzema has now been directly involved in 30 goals for Real Madrid in La Liga this season.
Luka Modric has now scored four goals in a single league season for the first time since he was a Tottenham Hotspur player (2012/13 season).
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