Real Madrid are top of the league – for a day at least – following a hard fought win over Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Second half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were enough to see off the Andalucian side, and crank the pressure up on Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid, both of whom play tomorrow evening. Another clean-sheet for Carlo Ancelotti’s men means they have also equaled the club record for the number of consecutive shut outs – seven. And they will break the record should they keep Espanyol at bay in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter final match on Tuesday.
Ahead of the match, Portugal forward Ronaldo displayed his Ballon d’Or award which he won at a glitzy ceremony in Switzerland two weeks ago. But the first half here in Madrid was less than glamorous, perhaps as a result of Los Blancos having played so many games in such a short space of time this year.
The opening period saw three chances of note. Sergio Ramos headed over with the goal gaping in the opening minutes as Granada’s goalkeeper went AWOL. Midway through first half, Karim Benzema volleyed just wide after Marcelo had sent in an inviting cross. And right before the break, Ronaldo tried a spectacular bicycle kick but keeper Roberto pulled off a great save just as it looked like the ball would fly into the net.
Madrid upped their game after the break, and just before the hour mark, had the lead. Luka Modric carried the ball forward from midfield and laid it on for Ronaldo who swiveled and sent a low left-footed shot into the corner of the net. It was the 28-year-old’s 22nd league goal and 40th overall in another remarkable campaign so far.
With 15 minutes to go Karim Benzema wrapped up the points for the hosts when he finished a nice move and pass from Marcelo. Los Blancos made some changes in the final few minute as they ran the clock down, knowing that they will sleep easily tonight, top of La Liga.