Granada 1-4 Real Madrid (Modrić, Rodrygo, Odriozola & Benzema). The title race lives on... Here is my immediate reaction. On the way: The player ratings, post match quotes and the ManagingMadrid podcast!
With just three games left in La Liga, Real Madrid’s only shot at the title would have to come with three wins - as well as some luck with results elsewhere. Atlético Madrid had already won their first of three finals after a battle with Real Sociedad, so anything but a win against Granada for Real would spell the end. There was a real shift up with the starting 11, with not one - but two Castilla players listed in the line-up. Miguel Gutiérrez came in at left-back, and Marvin Park was trusted to start at right-back. This of course was not the first time, and his spell against Getafe was actually rather promising. Still, it was interesting to see Marvin selected ahead of Castilla’s actual right-back or even Álvaro Odriozola. The remaining players were all pretty standard with both Brazilian wingers Rodrygo Goes and Vinícius Júnior deployed in attack.
Any pre-match nerves fans might have had about Madrid blowing it would have settled early here as it was clear the visitors came with the right mindset. Luka Modrić put his side ahead in good time when he was found very close to the goal by a lovely lofted pass from Castilla left-back Miguel. The Croatian was never going to make a mistake from there with the time gifted to him, and sent Madrid cruising ahead. It was 2-0 before half-time, with yet another assist through a Castilla player. This time Marvin Park provided the important touch, but in fairness to Rodrygo - he did everything else! The Brazilian carried the ball into the box before picking the bottom corner out.
Miguel on his first start for Real Madrid provides beautiful assist for Luka Modric— Fze (@TheWhiteCastIe) May 13, 2021
Granada ensured that the second half was going to be far cagier and more uncomfortable for Madrid - and immediately began piling more pressure on the defence than they managed in the entire first half. This led to a goal, as they broke away on the counter after a Madrid attack and managed to eventually sneak the ball past Thibaut Courtois despite his best efforts. The response from Los Blancos was excellent, and it became three in no time. Eden Hazard pulled the ball back across goal for substitute Álvaro Odriozola to smash home. Before I had time to note down the goal scorer, Karim Benzema benefitted from a goalkeeping mistake to score the fourth and put the game to bed. Courtois produced two trademark saves to stop Granada biting back, but Madrid remained in control and saw out the strong victory. Real Madrid remain two points behind neighbours Atlético with now just two games remaining...