Madrid digs deep to beat Granada, now only one win away from La Liga title

Real Madrid claimed its ninth successive win by beating Granada 2-1, and is now only one victory away from winning its 34th La Liga title.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid players celebrate their 2-1 win over Granada on Tuesday. The result marked the club's ninth successive win in the La Liga.   -  AP Photo

Real Madrid endured its toughest test at Granada on Monday since La Liga restarted but showed real determination to grind out a 2-1 win and record its ninth consecutive victory as the club moved within touching distance of reclaiming the title.

Early goals from Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema were enough to restore a four-point lead over Barcelona and Real will clinch its first league title since 2017 with a win over Villarreal on Thursday or at Leganes on the final day of the season.

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“It's true that we're one step closer but we have to keep going, there are still more points to play for and we're going to try and win every game left as that was always our objective,” said captain Sergio Ramos.

“I really hope we can celebrate winning this league title, our results speak for themselves.”

Zinedine Zidane's Real side got off to a flying start when French defender Mendy skipped into the box practically unopposed and rifled the ball into the net from the tightest of angles in the 10th minute, scoring his first goal for the club.

 

Real's top scorer Benzema doubled the advantage with a cool finish six minutes later to net his 19th goal of the season but Granada, who still had slim hopes of European qualification, refused to lie down.

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema's 16th minute strike saw Real Madrid take a 2-0 lead against Granada.   -  Twitter @realmadriden

 

Real's in-form goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made the first of two fine saves by tipping away a shot from defender Domingos Duarte before the break and Venezuelan forward Darwin Machis pulled one back early in the second half.

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It was the first goal Real had conceded in six matches but Granada threatened to equalise as Machis missed the target on the volley while Courtois showed superb reflexes to deny forward Antonin late on.

Ramos was then the hero as he cleared a Ramon Azeez shot off the line seconds later and the leaders had to withstand a goalmouth scramble in added time.

- Villarreal out of top four contention, Alaves boost survival hopes -

Villarreal's hopes of finishing in La Liga's top four ended with a 2-1 defeat at home to Real Sociedad on Monday, meaning Sevilla has qualified for the Champions League.

Sociedad's Brazilian striker Willian Jose broke the deadlock just after the hour mark before defender Diego Llorente added a second in the 75th minute before Santi Cazorla pulled one back for the host late on.

The result left Villarreal fifth in the standings with two games left on 57 points after 36 matches, nine behind Sevilla which won 2-0 at home to Mallorca on Sunday and returns to Europe's elite club competition after a two-year absence.

RELATED| LaLiga: Sevilla practically seals top-four finish, Eibar stays up, Leganes still alive

Elsewhere, Alaves picked up a valuable point in its bid for survival by drawing 0-0 at home to Getafe. The draw ended a run of six consecutive defeats for 17th-placed Alaves and took it to 36 points after 36 games, four points clear of the relegation zone. Getafe is sixth on 54.

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