Real Madrid kept the pressure on Atletico Madrid beating Granada 4-1 on Thursday to close the gap to two points at the top of La Liga, with two games to go.
A draw or loss for Real Madrid would have given Atletico the chance to win the title on Sunday by beating Osasuna, but goals from Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Alvaro Odriozola and Karim Benzema ensured a comfortable victory for Los Carmenes.
Atletico could still be crowned champions this weekend if they overcome Osasuna and Real Madrid fail to win at Athletic Bilbao, but the race for the Spanish title has been full of surprises and nothing has happened. is always guaranteed.
“We can only continue to put pressure on Atletico and hope that they do not win their two games,” said goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. “We are close, there is no margin for error. ”
Even third-placed Barcelona are still in the game, although Tuesday’s 3-3 draw at Levante leaves them in need of an incredible results swing if they are to reverse a four-point deficit in two games.
The theme of Real Madrid’s challenge in recent weeks has been survival, their side reached their limits through injuries and absences, but a particularly young side produced a vibrant display to see a Granada side who beat Barca in Camp Nou at the beginning of the month.
Zinedine Zidane started three 20-year-olds and one 19-year-old in what was arguably, given the stakes, the club’s most important league game of the season and his youngsters delivered.
Miguel Gutierrez, 19, started at right-back and gave spectacular help for Modric’s opener while Marvin Park, 20, played left-back and performed the recovery that led 20-year-old Rodrygo to add a second. .
Zidane has been as loyal to his aging core as ever this season, but necessity has forced him to turn to look elsewhere and it remains to be seen whether he will trust Miguel and Marvin more in the future.
Veterans still delivered, Modric, 35, adding a goal to another instrumental performance, in his 55th appearance of the season.
Benzema scored his 29th goal of the campaign and 22nd in La Liga, leaving him two short of his record.
Madrid were excellent in the first half and took the lead in the 17th minute when Miguel cut through the left side and managed a superb pass into the path of Modric, who held off Domingos Duarte and shot at the near post.
Rodrygo added a second just before half-time, taking advantage after Marvin freed him with a sliding challenge near the halfway line. Rodrygo advanced into the penalty area and led into the far corner.
Madrid’s dominance faded after the break and Granada briefly threatened a comeback, a long forward ball not processed by Eder Militao, giving Luis Suarez the chance to shoot and Jorge Molina to kick the rebound.
But the tension was never really allowed to build because four minutes later Madrid made three.
Eden Hazard, on the bench, poorly controlled Modric’s pass but recovered with an impressive setback for Odriozola’s arrival.
Thirty seconds after Granada’s kick-off, they conceded a fourth, their goalkeeper Rui Silva messing up Casemiro’s thrown pass, the ball spilling onto Benzema, who had an open net.
© 2021 AFP