They only played nine minutes. They only needed half of it to get another one, and this time there was a more familiar aspect. A break that started with Darwin Machís in trouble on the corner of one area ended at the feet of Benzema in the opposite corner of the other. Same place where Mendy had been, same conclusion, different means. By cutting, Benzema folded the ball beyond Rui Silva for his 19th league goal. On the sideline, the manager of Granada, Diego Martínez, swore loudly; to his left, Zidane applauds.
It was done, he must have felt it and he would not have been alone. Madrid played, the ball belonged to them, with a fluidity that belied their speed. It even sounded good. Tac, tac, it went, from side to side, through the lines and vice versa, round and round. Sometimes there was a scream. Carva, pars. Affair, Affair. Shut up, shut up. Bats and swallows plunged over the stadium, a sharp serenade to accompany the percussive rhythm. Shut up, shut up. Luke, wait. Shut up, shut up. Open, open. Shut up, shut up.
The ease with which Benzema finds space, adrift, was something to see; the ease that Modric found him was also, an angularly soft and gentle pass offering the Frenchman another opportunity. This time it was a thump, Rui Silva pushing just before half time.
But at that moment, Granada, which had lost its way, gone to hunt butterflies, had found it. Domingos Duarte took a hit from Thibaut Courtois – a reminder of the goalkeeper’s enormous contribution to the new title and that there could be some life left in this match. At the start of the second half, there really were. Casmeiro was caught in the middle and Yangel Herrera led the charge, slipping the ball into Machís. From practically the same place where the first two goals were scored, he drove it between Courtois’ legs and the place exploded as much as any place with barely two hundred people.
It was different now, Machís guiding a half-volley past the post and then almost reaching the filtered pass of Carlos Fernández. It also sounded differently: stronger, more tense, protests accompanying the game where previously there was none, even the ball was hitting harder now, less room for subtlety. Duarte carried depths to the edge of the Madrid area where he was shot. When the scene was repeated soon after, Ángel Montoro complained to the referee: “you could hear the bloody shock”. He was right too. the pace accelerated, the pitch tilted towards the goal of Madrid.
There was a rush in the six-meter area, Germán falling into the crowd. Granada has always come. Antonio Antonín controlled his chest and struck an acrobatic volley which Courtois saved, plunging over the entire length. The ball came back and reached Ramon Azeez, whose shot was cleared from the line by Ramos. ” Well done! Well done! Exclaimed Martinez, the applause intensified in echo, all accelerating. Montoro’s late head drifted, then Rui Silva went up for a corner, only to watch him fly over his head. Madrid held out, not least because they had something to hold on to – a championship title that they will certainly not let go of now.