Real Madrid edge feisty Granada in six-goal thriller
That was a real scare for the leaders but Granada will take plenty of positives from that, not least in coming back from 3-0 down to 3-2. They've shown they can mix it with the big boys already this season and were certainly not outclassed in the Bernabéu. Considering they didn't manage a shot on target until Real were already two up it was a fine performance from the newly promoted side.
Real with a four-point lead as it stands with Atlético, Barcelona and Real Sociedad still to play this weekend.
And that's it! Real Madrid win an entertaining contest 4-2 to move ahead at the top of the table.
The Colombian finishes off a sweeping move initaited by Odriozola and slots the defender's pull back into the net from close range.
Three minutes added... three very nervous minutes for Madrid.
That's cleared though and Real win a free kick in midfield, Casemiro taking his sweet time over it.
Isco! Over the bar from the midfielder after Benzema teed him up from the left. It took a nick though as Real have another corner...
Rui Silva! The Granada keeper makes an excellent save to deny Benzema a second!
Real really just trying to keep the ball away from Granada now, the visitors tails are up and they look dangerous every time they go forward.
And Bale makes way to a huge ovation with Rodrygo coming on. He was electric in the first half and that assist was something to behold. The Bernabéu appreciating the Welshman's efforts today.
Play is halted again as Carvajal takes a boot in the gut from Sergio Ramos! He's been in the wars today, the Spain full back.
Varane! Again, the Frenchman saves his side by cutting out a glorious ball that would have put Granada through one-on-one with Areola.
It's definitely one step forwards, one step back for Madrid this season. They simply can't defend like that despite the cushion... now that has been slashed to a single goal and the home side, quite needlessly, have their backs to the wall for the last 10 minutes.
Madrid fail to deal with a low corner and the Portuguese takes advantage to prod home from close range! The cat is very much among the pigeons now...
Varane! Off the line! The free kick is a good one and attacked by several red and white shirts, one of whom nodded it back across goal for the Frenchman to head off his own line!
Interesting looking free kick for Granada here, conceded by Ramos. Out on the right of the area, the big lads lumbering up...
Ramos! Just over the bar from the resulting free kick as the Real defender heads a decent effort in.
And Domingos Duarte joins his teammate for a pretty robust foul on Bale.
Herrera into the book for clattering into Valverde in midfield. You have to raise you hat to the Uruguayan. He's an unfussy player who doesn't make a meal out of anything and it straight back up.
Meanwhile, the lesser-spotted Isco came on at some point during that passage of play to replace Hazard, who managed 44 touches in the game - 13 more than Rui Silva in the Granada goal. The Belgian does have a goal and assist to show for it though.
Areola will not want to see that one again too often... and there was some talk of him taking the number one spot from Thibaut Courtois.
Areola makes a right old mess of a regulation back pass and then clatters Vadillo to concede a spot kick!
Bale down in agony, clutching his left ankle after a proper reducer from Germán. Never a good sight for regular Bernabéu-goers. He's up and about with a grimace though.
Soldado is jeered off as Carlos Fernández comes on for the former Real striker. Zero shots from Soldado and it seems as though Diego Martínez has decided just to keep this one reasonable rather than chasing what is now an almost impossible comeback.
Worth noting that it was Valverde's industry that led to the goal, the Uruguayan battling to get the ball back from a short goal kick and starting the move for Hazard to square for Modric. A fine game from the 21-year-old today.
Wow, the Croatian really leathered that one. Outside the area, a rising right footer that left Rui Silva with no chance at all.
Corner to Real, their third of the game. Modric sends it towards Ramos but Granada are wise to that ploy by now and clear effectively to deny the Real captain.
We're back underway and Casemiro remains on the pitch for now...
All a bit of a mess. Play still stopped as Casemiro receives treatment. It looks like he'll be off as Isco starts warming up.
Soldado in the book now for a foul on Casemiro. It looked like they'd just fallen into each other but on further inspection it looked like an elbow from Soldado, a trip from a flapping Casemiro and then the Granada striker fell on top of the Brazilian and jammed an elbow in his back.
You get the sense that Granada are on the verge here... Real are a little rattled and the visitors have upped their physical game since the break.
But he's back up and in rude enough health to find his way into the book for a colourful display of language aimed at the referee.
And this could be a problem for Madrid... Carvajal is down in agony after a challenge from Herrera.
Real make a meal of getting the ball clear as Granada almost break through and Modric is then aggrieved to be penalised for a foul in midfield.
Diego Martínez makes his first change with Álvaro Vadillo coming on for Azeez.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a shot on target! Areola forced to make a diving save from Yangel Herrera, although in reality it was a regulation stop.
And Real get us going again! Granada really need an early goal here to get a foothold on the match.
We're about to get underway for the second half...
10 shots from Real in that first half, half of them on target and three blocked. Two off-target efforts from Granada. Areola really hasn't had a lot to do so far. The visitors need to come out of the blocks firing.
All fairly plain sailing for Madrid, who haven't really been troubled by Granada in the opening 45. Will we see a little more caution thrown to the wind in the second half?
And that's the half!
The Belgian chips Rui Silva after some kamikaze defending from Granada and it was beautifully taken. Real 2-0 up on the stroke of half time.
Two minutes added....
And that leaves him on four bookings for the season, which is good news for Mallorca. With El Clásico next up after the Balearic side it's safe to assume Casemiro will not be risked.
We have our first booking, and guess who it is... Casemiro gets his name taken as he clobbers Herrera in midfield. Are we right in thinking he's never been sent off at club level? Quite how remains a mystery.
Nope! Not given! In fairness, Bale was trailing his leg out as he went over....
And now Bale is appealing for a penalty (and our lip reading department tells us not very politely) and it looks like we're going to VAR...
Ufffff! Benzema gets away on the byline and squares, Rui Silva gets a glove to it and that's enough to guide it towards Bale, who can't turn it on on his right from close range.
Puertas! The Granada man tries his luck but he skews it wide. At least it was a shot though... the visitors are not being hugely adventurous here.
Granada's fans are cheering a decent spell of possession but it ends with the ball in Areola's gloves as Soldado was looking for the telling cross. One attempt so far from the visitors, and that was off target. Nine from Madrid, with four between the three sticks.
And there's the change, it's Kroos who heads off with Modric on to replace him. Not sure what that was about but from the looks of things it was probably a muscle issue.
Antonio Peurtas sends Ramos crashing to the floor but also avoids the ref's notebook.
Valverde, who has been excellent in the opening 45, almost gets on the end of a long ball but Rui Silva, who it has to be said could have done more with the goal, is out like a whippet to scoop it up, which considering the size of him is pretty impressive.
Ramon Azeez takes a hell of a clattering from Casemiro, who is lucky not to go in the book for that.
Luka Modric is out to warm up... not sure if someone has signalled to the bench or if Zidane just doesn't like what he's seeing. Which would be odd, this is the best Madrid have played all season.
Valverde this time as he seeks out Hazard, who we honestly forgot was playing he's been so quiet, but the Uruguayan youngster puts a bit too much on it, drawing a rueful smile from the Belgian.
Carvajal cannot believe that didn't go in...
Rui Silva! What a stop! Carvajal is on the end of another free-flowing move and the Portuguese makes a fine save to deny the Spaniard!
Ramos! The captain takes and a wicked deflection almost ricochets in on the far side! That would have been a cruel, and possibly definitive blow, for Granada, who are trying to force their way back into the match...
Free kick to Real in a dangerous area...
It's actually Carvajal patrolling the left and that's working nicely for Madrid as Odriozola and Bale are terrorising the Granada left.
Granada looking to work something in midfield but Real have set up pretty solidly and are holding the lines well. Granada win a throw and Machís almost wriggles through but Casemiro makes a fine challenge on the edge of the area to deny the Venezuelan.
A lovely move from Real ends with Valverde popping a header straight at Rui Patricio when he had all the time in the world...
More good work from Bale, who gets away down the right and backheels for Odriozola. The ball is worked out to Benzema, who flashes a first-time volley wide from inside the area.
And he finds Varane at the far stick but the Frenchman can't keep his header down.
Free kick to Madrid now, Kroos to deliver...
A decent spell of possession from Granada comes to nothing as Machís runs the ball out under no pressure.
That enforced change has taken some of the cohesion out of Granada and Real are stroking it about fairly confidently.
Free-kick to Granada, but Machís delivers it straight into the gloves of Areola.
And the change is made. Gonalons on, and Granada appear to have switched to a 4-1-4-1 as a result of Montoro's injury.
And things go from bad to worse for Granada as it looks as though the influential Ángel Montoro has twanged a thigh muscle. He's not going to able to continue.
Wonderful assist from Bale with the outside of his boot to tee up Benzema, who just can't seem to miss at the moment.
Soldado is screaming for a penalty against Sergio Ramos for handball, but the ref is unmoved...
And were off! Granada get the ball rolling...
Well, more of a 4-2-3-1, but the visitors are certainly stacking their midfield.
And here's Granada's line up, Diego Martínez going for a 4-5-1 with Soldado as the sharp end of his formation.
- 1 Rui Silva
- 15 Carlos Neva
- 6 Germán
- 22 Domingos Duarte
- 16 Víctor Díaz
- 21 Yangel Herrera
- 19 Montoro
- 10 Puertas
- 23 Machís
- 12 Azeez
- 9 Soldado
Here's confirmation, if it were needed, that Odriozola will indeed be filling in at left back this afternoon.
- 1 Areola
- 5 Varane
- 2 Carvajal
- 4 Sergio Ramos
- 19 Álvaro Odriozola
- 15 Federico Valverde
- 8 Kroos
- 14 Casemiro
- 9 Benzema
- 11 Bale
- 7 Hazard
We're about to get going in the Bernabéu as first hosts second in a top-of-the-table clash!
Just 10 minutes to go in Madrid until we get underway in the Bernabéu.
Quite a good turnout from Granada in the stands. They'll be up for this one. And from the way they've been playing recently optimism will be high.
Former Madrid midfielder Álvaro Benito analysed today's game for AS and highlighted Granada's strengths. You can read that here.
As this tweet from Granada states, the Rojiblancos have only won once in the Bernabéu in Liga history, in 1974, courtesy of a single goal from Félix Lorenzo García. They may be meeting Madrid at just the right time to live up to their other nickname of the giant killers though....
Granada boss Diego Martínez is without Fede Vico, Quini and Yan Eteki today, meaning on-loan Manchester City midfielder Yangel Herrera will have plenty to do as he covers the back four.
Granada have only lost once this season and go into the game today on the back of four wins and a draw, with only goal conceded over the course of those five games.
And here's Granada's starting XI. Roberto Soldado will lead the line against his former club while there's planty of guile in midfield in the shape of Azeez and Ángel Montoro.
We assume Zidane's solution to not having a left back today is to play Odriozola on that side of defence...
We're not sure if that's a mistake or not but it seems as though both Dani Carvajal and Odriozola are starting...
And here is confirmation of Zidane's starting XI. Fede Valverde starts in midfield alongside Toni Kroos and Casemiro with Luka Modric on the bench. Álvaro Odriozola gets the nod at right back while James and Isco have to make do with a place among the subs.
In any case, Alphonse Areola will be between the sticks today and looking to extend his record of 315 unbeaten minutes for both PSG and Real Madrid this season.
Thibaut Courtois was singled out for some criticism over that result and was forced to leave the pitch due to stomach issues, with the Bernabéu later issuing a statement denying the Belgian had suffered an anxiety attack.
And here is how the top of the table looks as things stand. Real remain the only unbeaten side in the division but hardly limbered up for this one in fine style, drawing 2-2 with Club Brugge in the Champions League during the week.
Visiting the Bernabéu this afternoon are high-flying Granada, who sit in second level on points with Atlético. The newly promoted side have surprised many this season, not least Barça, who were deservedly beaten 2-0 in Los Cármenes a couple of weeks ago.
Real Madrid head into the final game before the international break in need of a result to strengthen their grip on the top of the table after a goalless draw with Atlético last weekend.