Jan 25, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid
2-0
Granada
Ronaldo (56'), Benzema (74')
Ramos (17'), Benzema (54'), Modric (60'), di Maria (65')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Murillo (9'), Iturra (62')

Live Commentary: Real Madrid 2-0 Granada - as it happened

Real's Karim Benzema celebrates with teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric after scoring the opening goal against Osasuna during their Copa del Rey match on January 9, 2014
© AFP
Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the La Liga clash at the Bernabeu where Real Madrid beat Granada 2-0.

Real Madrid welcomed Granada to the Bernabeu knowing that three points would move them top of the La Liga table.

The home side had the better opportunities in the first period, but could not make the breakthrough with the pair level at the interval.

Madrid had the lead in the early stages of the second period, however, when Cristiano Ronaldo arrowed one into the bottom corner, before Karim Benzema made it 2-0 15 minutes from time.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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2.31pmAfternoon all! Saturday’s La Liga coverage opens from the Spanish capital as Real Madrid welcome Granada. Los Blancos enter the match knowing that three points would move them to the top of the table - for 24 hours at least. Granada, however, will be hoping to move closer to the 40-point mark with a positive performance at the Bernabeu.

2.34pmTEAMS:

REAL MADRID: Lopez; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Alonso, Modric; Ronaldo, Di Maria, Bale; Benzema

GRANADA: Roberto; Nyom, Mainz, Murillo, Angulo; Iturra, Fatau, Recio; Brahimi, El-Arabi, Piti


2.37pmSo there we have it. No real surprises in the Madrid XI this afternoon with Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Maria, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all selected. Daniel Carvajal, meanwhile, continues at right-back with Alvaro Arbeloa on the bench. Granada are also as expected with Youssef El-Arabi and Piti leading the line. Two attacking sides on display this afternoon that is for certain.

2.40pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Madrid have won four of the last five matches, with Granada also claiming one win during that run of games. That victory came on their own patch in February 2013, but Madrid were 1-0 winners when the pair met earlier in the season. In total, Granada have conceded 12 times in their last five games with Los Blancos.

2.43pmAfter an indifferent start to the season, Madrid have really found form in recent weeks. They have won each of their last four league games since drawing 2-2 with Osasuna on December 14 and have not lost in La Liga since the end of October, when they were beaten by Barcelona. Since then, they have won nine games and drawn once.

2.46pmSuch form has moved them back into contention for the title, with Los Blancos now sitting on 50 points after 20 matches. Atletico Madrid remain second on 51 points, while Barcelona top the table on goal difference. Granada enter this match with the knowledge that Madrid have won eight of their nine home league games this season, scoring 30 times in the process.

2.49pmMadrid are also the top scorers in the league at this stage of the season with 58 goals in their 20 matches, which works out at just under three-per-game. Cristiano Ronaldo – who else? – has scored 19 of those. Granada, meanwhile, have found the back of the net on just 19 occasions. Down the other end, Madrid have conceded 21 goals to Granada’s 25.

2.52pmGranada enter the match off the back of a goalless draw with Osasuna last weekend, with that result leaving them in 10th position in the table. They have won seven of their 20 matches, drawing three times and losing 10. Surprisingly, seven of those losses have occurred on their own patch, while they have lost just three from nine on their travels.

2.55pmIncredibly, just five points separate ninth-place Valencia from Almeria in 17th position. That is a demonstration of the closeness at the bottom of the table this season. There is a gap starting to emerge with the top eight, but there are 10 or 11 teams that are looking over their shoulder. Three points for Granada this afternoon would move them into eighth.

2.58pmPREDICTION: To put it plainly, this should be a home banker for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. I am trying to make a case for Granada, but with Madrid in exceptional form, I can only see one result. With the personnel on display, it will be a different afternoon for the visitors. My score prediction is 4-0 Madrid at the Bernabeu.

1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Just a reminder that three points for Madrid would see them move top of the table. Right, the away side get the action underway.

2 minWonderful atmosphere inside the Bernabeu this afternoon. The home supporters have turned up in their numbers hoping to see their side move to the top of the table. Not too much to report in the opening couple of minutes, but Madrid are in control of the possession.

4 minGranada force their first corner of the match following really smart football in the middle of the park with five players involved. The set piece is delivered by Brahimi, but his cross is too high for Recio. Madrid regain possession moments later, but Mainz is across to deny Benzema outside the box.

6 minThe home side's first sight of goal comes through Modric as the Croatian plays a through ball towards Benzema, but Roberto is quick off his line to quell the threat. It has been a positive start from Granada with the likes of Iturra and Recio enjoying possession in the middle of the park. Still goalless after six minutes.

8 minFirst sign of Bale as the Welshman drives past Angulo before driving a low cross into the box, but Roberto is on hand to collect at the vital moment. Granada break down the other end with Fatau, but the attacker is crowed out. Moments later, Roberto tips a Ronaldo effort over the crossbar.

11 minUntidy period of the match in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of losing possession in the final third. Granada have been really bright in the Madrid half thus far, but the first yellow card of the match is handed to Murillo when the Granada defender catches Bale with a high foot.

13 minIt does not look great for Bale as he just rises to his feet, but it does appear that he will be fit to continue. The resulting set piece is delivered by Di Maria into the Granada box, but Iturra is across to clear with Ronaldo in close proximity. Good pressure from the home side.

15 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Madrid to take the lead as Ramos meets a deep cross from Di Maria, but the Spaniard can only head over from close range. Granada stopper Roberto had come and got nowhere near the cross.

17 minHalf-chance for Granada as Brahimi finds some space on the edge of the box before curling one towards the top corner, but it was always moving high of the crossbar. Madrid press down the other end moments later, but the latest attack comes to an end when Modric is crowded out by Mainz, who has been impressive in Madrid thus far.

20 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments with a number of late challenges. Ramos is the latest name to enter the book for a really poor challenge on Brahimi. The resulting set piece is taken by Piti, but Carvajal is on hand to clear the danger. Granada are growing into this match there is no question about that. Still goalless after 20 minutes of action.

22 minMadrid continue to pass and probe outside the Granada box with Modric and Alonso both in advanced positions, but clear chances have been few and far between thus far. There is a slight nervousness in the crowd, which is strange after just 22 minutes. Los Blancos will be confident that the first goal will soon arrive.

24 minHalf-chance for Madrid as Di Maria searches out Ronaldo with a deep cross, but Mainz manages to head clear at the vital moment. The intensity has certainly risen in the last couple of moments with a real urgency being displayed from the home side. However, Granada remain compact in defensive areas.

26 minCHANCE! Madrid's second clear chance of the match arrives to Benzema as the Frenchman meets a cross from Marcelo, but his volley whistles wide of the post. Granada break down the other end with Iturra, but he finds El-Arabi in an isolated position. Little under 20 minutes of the first period remaining in Madrid.

29 minGOAL DISALLOWED! Madrid have the ball in the back of the net as Benzema converts from close range, but the Frenchman had been in an offside position. Not too much else in terms of chances for either side with Granada more than holding their own against Los Blancos, who have been lacklustre thus far.

31 minEnd-to-end football in the last couple of moments with both sides forcing the issue in the final third. Granada force another free kick outside the box when Alonso fells Piti, but it is played short and the danger is cleared. Little under 15 minutes of the first period remaining in the Spanish capital. It remains goalless at the Bernabeu.

33 minHalf-chance for the home side as Ronaldo creates some space down the left before drilling a low cross towards Bale, but Mainz just does enough at the vital moment and the danger is cleared. You just get the feeling that Granada need to hold out until the interval if they are to take something from this match.

35 minBenzema is again involved for the home side as he prods a Di Maria effort towards goal from close range, but once more the offside flag is raised. More frustration for the home supporters. Granada have not really threatened to take the lead, but they continue to impress in defensive areas.

37 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but Madrid continue to force the issue in the final third. Bale takes matters into his own hands with an effort from outside the box, but it was always rising high and wide. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining in the Spanish capital.

40 minHalf-chance for Ronaldo this time as the Portuguese meets a deep cross from Bale, but he cannot direct his effort towards goal. A period of possession follows, but Granada continue to stand strong in defensive areas. Can the home side break the deadlock before the interval?

42 minScrappy last few moments with both sides guilty of conceding possession in the final third. Ronaldo leads a counter into the Granada box moments later, but once more Mainz stands strong. He has been terrific in the opening 42 minutes of this La Liga contest.

44 minMore frustration for the home supporters as Bale and Ronaldo attempt mazy runs in quick succession, but neither can find their way past this Granada defence. The away side attempt to break moments later with Brahimi, but Ramos clears the danger. I shouldn't expect that there will be too much added time at the end of the half.

45+1 minCHANCE! Wow, just wow. Incredible effort from Ronaldo as the Portuguese produces a stunning bicycle kick from inside the box, but Roberto is on hand to make a quite wonderful save. What an end to the half.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 Granada

3.51pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. Madrid have had the better of the chances, but Granada have been extremely tight in defence. Just a reminder that three points for the home side would move them to the top of the table - for 24 hours at least.

3.56pmSTATISTICS: Madrid have just about shaded the possession with 52%, while they have had eight attempts to Granada's four. In truth, only one side has forced the issue in the final third, but he away team have been impressive defensively. The referee, meanwhile, has issued two yellow cards thus far.

4.01pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench in the shape of Isco, Jese Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata. Meanwhile, Granada have the likes of Pereira, Buonanotte and Foulquier in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive in this type of match. Can Granada cause an upset? The home side get the second 45 minutes underway.

48 minOne change for the home side at the interval with Jese Rodriguez entering the field in place of Gareth Bale, who took a heavy knock in the first period. Granada, however, go with the same XI. As expected, Los Blancos start the half on the front foot with an extended period of possession.

50 minJust a reminder that three points for the home side would move them into top position in the table, but Granada have other ideas. They are not going to go away in this match. Without sounding like a broken record, the first goal is all-important. A Granada strike would make it very interesting indeed.

52 minBenzema rattles the crossbar for the home side following a Modric cross, but the Frenchman had been in an offside position once more. The luck appears to be with Granada at the moment, but there is still a lot of football to be played. Still goalless with 52 minutes on the clock.

55 minStop-start period of the match in the last few moments with the referee forced to deal with a number of late challenges in the middle of the park. Los Blancos continue to threaten in the final third, but Jese and Di Maria have both delivered crosses into the arms of Roberto in the last couple of moments.

56 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Di Maria curls one from outside the box, but Iturra is on hand to make the save. Modric has a turn moments later when he drives into the box, but the Croatian is denied by another fine save from Roberto.

56 minThe opportunities continue to arrive for the home side as Modric meets a cross from Di Maria, but his header just drops wide of the post. We are getting to the stage where both managers will be thinking about changes. Little over 30 minutes remaining and still the score remains goalless.

56 minGOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Granada (Ronaldo)

57 minMadrid were in need of a goal and who steps forward? You guessed it - Ronaldo. The Portuguese finds some space on the edge of the box before thumping one into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Ronaldo.

60 minThat goal has just taken the stuffing out of Granada with the home side dominating possession of the ball. The longer it stays at 1-0, Granada will have a chance, but another strike for the home side would surely kill this game off.

62 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but the referee has been more involved than he would like due to a number of fouls. Granada have the chance to deliver into the Madrid box, but Fatau's cross is cleared by Ramos.

64 minIturra becomes the latest name to enter the book for fouling Carvajal on the edge of the Granada box. The resulting free kick is taken by Di Maria, but his effort is just over the crossbar. Little over 25 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.

66 minDesperate defending from Granada in the last couple of moments as they continue to lose possession on the edge of their own box. Madrid are dominant, but are not entirely comfortable with just a one-goal lead. As it stands, they are heading to the top of the table.

68 minDi Maria becomes the latest name to enter the book for pulling down Brahimi on the right. It has been a really untidy match in the second period with a number of late challenges from both sides. Granada again deliver the ball into the Madrid box, but the danger is cleared once more. The final ball has been poor from the away side.

70 minRonaldo again threatens for the home side as he drives into the Granada box before rounding two defenders, but Mainz is across to clear at the vital moment. Los Blancos continue to utterly dominate possession of the ball as we enter the final 20 minutes. Can Granada force one clear opportunity?

73 minNot too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last couple of moments, but the home side remain in utter control of the possession. Granada look to their bench for the first time this afternoon as Recio is replaced by Pereira. Little more than 15 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.

74 minCROSSBAR! Another opportunity for the home side to threaten from a free kick as Brahimi is penalised for handling outside the box. The resulting set piece is taken by Ronaldo, but his effort smashes against the crossbar. That would surely have secured all the points.

74 minGOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Granada (Benzema)

75 minReal Madrid have their second of the match as Marcelo drives into the box before finding Benzema, who slots home from close range. That could be game over in Madrid.

77 minHalf-chance for Granada down the other end as El-Arabi finds Piti inside the box, but Diego Lopez is out to claim at the vital moment. The Madrid goalkeeper has been a spectator this afternoon. You just get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals as the home side continue to force the issue.

79 minThe home side make their second change of the match as Benzema, who scored the second, is replaced by Isco. Not a bad replacement to have! Little over 10 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining. Madrid are heading for first position.

82 minHalf-chance for the away side as Pereira collects possession outside the box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but his effort is wide of the post. Granada two chances moments later with Coeff and Buonanotte replacing Piti and Murillo.

84 minCHANCE! Madrid come close to making it 3-0 as Di Maria collects a loose ball outside the box, but his effort just moves wide of the post. That proves to be Di Maria's last involvement as Illarramendi enters the field. Little over five minutes of football remaining in Madrid.

86 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with Madrid in control of the possession. Granada must be praised for their defensive work this afternoon, but they have been really poor in the final third. One goal - or in this case two - was always going to be enough.

89 minMadrid continue to pass and probe outside the Granada area, eventually Isco tries his luck from distance, but Roberto is on hand to make the save. It is all too easy for the home side at the moment as we enter the final stages of this La Liga contest.

90+2 minHalf-chance for the away side as El-Arabi curls one from outside the box, but his effort is just high of the crossbar. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the second of those.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Real Madrid 2-0 Granada

4.51pmSo there we have it. Madrid move to the top of the La Liga table with a 2-0 win over Granada. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us again from 6.30pm for more La Liga action. Until then!

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the opener during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg football match against Espanyol on January 21, 2014
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