Granada 0 - 1 Real Madrid: Los Blancos Win A Tepid And Thoroughly Routine Match Through Benzema's Strike

Denis Doyle

A routine win for Real Madrid as Benzema's goal takes the three points.

Line-Up

Diego López, as expected, started in goal. Madrid's sole defensive midfielder for most of the match (before Casemiro was substituted on with 15 minutes to go) was Luka Modric. Angel Di María started on the right in this match in what, rumour tells us, could be his last game for Real Madrid.

Match Notes

In practice Carlo Ancelotti has been getting his players play keep-away. This game seemed, at times, to be a giant version of that game. It certainly wasn't one football aficionados will be clamouring to re-watch. If Madrid ever got out of first gear, this writer failed to see it. To be fair, the opponents hardly made it necessary.

Madrid's combination play was, at times, exquisite in a technical sense. The players kept and regained possession while hardly breaking a sweat. Granada seemed equally sleepy and it was unusual, most especially in the first half, to see more than two of Granada's outfield players out of their own half. Madrid also dominated possession to an alarming extent in that first half 74% (dropping off to 65% over the course of the game) which made it hard for Granada to even get into the match.

Granada's El Arabi had a bright first 20 minutes (and could have scored in the 19th) but was otherwise anonymous. 
Diego López was called on to make no unlikely saves (nor for that matter, was Granada's Roberto), and Granada's few free kicks near Madrid's penalty areas were interesting (all taken short) but ultimately not threatening. They were not effective on the break, and were rarely able to make more than three passes before being harried off the ball by Madrid's wide-players.

Even the goal had a phlegmatic air to it. Marcelo spread play from left to right. Angel di Maria chested the ball down and crossed it into the penalty box. Ronaldo's touch placed the ball directly in Benzema's path. To their credit, both players did well to stay onside.

The most exciting action of the second half was Modric's mazy run before being brought down in the penalty box (the referee failed to award a penalty) and Cristiano Ronaldo's 86th minute free kick hitting the wall. By the time Granada briefly threatened Madrid's penalty area, it was already injury time.

Routine game, routine win. Three more points.

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