MADRID: After their ninth straight win following the pandemic break, Real Madrid are on the verge of reclaiming the La Liga title.
Real defeated Granada 2-1 on Monday to move within two points of winning the trophy.
Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema scored first-half goals to keep Real four points ahead of second-placed Barcelona with two rounds to go.
Real can clinch their first title since 2017 on Thursday with a win at Villarreal, or if Barca lose points when they host Osasuna. Two draws in the final two rounds will also be enough to secure Real a record 34th league trophy.
“We are a step closer but we cant relax, we haven’t won anything yet,” Real captain Sergio Ramos said. “There are still points to be won.
We depend on ourselves and we have a game at home coming up, hopefully we can win it and celebrate the league title.”
Real were in control early in Granada and Mendy’s first goal since joining the Spanish club this season came from a beautiful angled shot into the top corner after getting past a defender inside the area in the 10th minute.
Benzema added to the lead six minutes later by scoring his 19th league goal with a right-footed strike into the far corner.
Granada, who are 10th in the standings, got on the board with a goal by Darwin Machls in the 50th and pressured to the end.
The hosts came closest to the equaliser with about five minutes left, when Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to make a difficult save and Ramos cleared a shot at the goal line.
Earlier, Villarreal’s hopes of Champions League football were dashed after they lost 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad to confirm that fourth-placed Sevilla will join Atletico Madrid, Barca and Real in the competition next season.
Villarreal remain fifth, three points ahead of Getafe and Real Sociedad, with all three hoping to secure a place in the Europa League. Getafe drew 0-0 against Alaves.
Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2020