Real see off Granada as La Liga title race heats up

Real Madrid swatted aside Granada 4-1 on Thursday to ensure the La Liga title race will go down to the wire, moving to within two points of leaders Atletico Madrid.

Despite missing a number of first-team regulars, Real started the stronger and first-half strikes from Luka Modric and Rodrygo put the visitors in control.

Such was their dominance that even when Jorge Molina halved the deficit on 71 minutes, tapping in after Thibaut Courtois had kept out Luis Suarez’s initial effort, they rarely looked troubled.

Substitute Alvaro Odriozola restored Real’s two-goal advantage, slamming in from fellow substitute Eden Hazard’s pull-back after 75 minutes.

Less than 60 seconds later Karim Benzema made it four after Granada ‘keeper Rui Silva came out but failed to deal with a ball over the top, allowing the Frenchman to fire into an empty net from distance.

Real moved into second place on 78 points, two behind leaders Atletico Madrid with two games left to play. Barcelona are third, two points adrift of Real.

Real travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday while Atleti host Osasuna on the same day, with all matches kicking off simultaneously.

Should Real fail to beat Bilbao, Atletico will be champions if they overcome Osasuna.

Elsewhere, Villarreal kept their hopes of securing a Europa League spot alive by winning 2-0 at Valladolid with second-half goals from Gerard Moreno and Etienne Capoue. The result left Valladolid inside the relegation zone. Real Betis later drew 1-1 with at bottom side Eibar.

In Italy Adam Ounas scored one goal and set up the other as already-relegated Crotone beat Verona 2-1 on Thursday to climb out of last place in Serie A.

Ounas netted the opener inside two minutes, meeting a low pass from the left with a finish from eight yards out. He then created the second goal in the 75th minute, passing for Junior Messias to slot into the net.

Verona pulled one back late on when Koray Gunter’s header from a corner deflected into the net off Crotone winger Salvatore Molina.

It was the 91st goal conceded by Crotone in Serie A this season, equaling the all-time record set by Casale in 1933-34.

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