Real Madrid played in the first half, suffered in the second
Real Madrid won an important game in Granada on Monday night, this time without any fuel for the VAR debate. Zidane maintained Madrid's winning run post-confinement in a game where they suffered a lot. After a brilliant first half, in which they dominated and scored two goals, Granada came out fighting in the second half and took control. They did so in their classic style - pressure, steals and quick-fire attacks - and they disrupted the league leaders' flow. Courtois, who has been in fine fettle, let in his first goal in five games, but saved more as Granada turned up the heat. Madrid ended up asking the referee how long was left as they begged for the final whistle. A corner was swung in, Madrid cleared and won the game, resisting Granada's spirited comeback.
Zidane surprised many with his line-up of five midfielders and just one striker, Benzema. With so many players available in the middle, Zidane overcame Granada's high pressure. Real Madrid had options and were clinical in their execution. Above all, they had help in every attack, sending lots of players into Granada's area when they surged forward. And they weren't always the same players, which caused great confusion among the host's defense. It was no surprise Madrid were leading by two at the break. Mendy's opener was a surprise with a shot from a tight angle but his rapid burst into the penalty area has come to be expected. The shot was rifled at goal and could not be stopped. Benzema's goal was a very simple work of art, of his own creation; a quick dribble and a precise shot that found its target.
Sergio Ramos confessed after the game that maybe they got a little complacent after the break. It was noted by a loss of possession from Casemiro, which Granada capitalised on. After a rapid counter, Machís got one back for the home side. The whole dynamic of the game changed. After switching off, Madrid didn't know how to reactive their urgency. Zidane tried to reclaim control by bringing on Asensio and Rodrygo for Valverde and Isco. But Granada are a serious side and are fighting for European football. From that point on, they were the better team. The league leaders were left bewildered and tarnished a great first half with a poor second half. They held out until the end though and now there is little between them and a league title. One win or two draws in their last two games stand between them and the celebrations.
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