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Deportivo La Coruña
25 January 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Jesús Gil
• Attendance: 73874
Cristiano Ronaldo 56'
K. Benzema 74'
The full-time whistle is blown, with the final score: Real Madrid 2-0 Granada! I've been Livio Caferoglu and I hope you enjoyed today's clash in the Spanish capital - hopefully more than I did anyway... Adios!
90' + 2'
Fatau, with the last kick of the game, drags a low effort hopelessly wide of Lopez's net.
90' + 1'
A LUCKY ESCAPE!!! Only Roberto knows what was going through his mind when he bizarrely chased Ronaldo all the way to the left-hand touchline from his own goal after Isco slipped through the Portuguese! Fortunately for Granada, the young midfielder's second bite of the cherry was fended away by Iturra.
Three minutes of injury time have been permitted.
EL-ARABI!!!!!! The Moroccan finds some space in the final third and looks to test Lopez from distance, and he almost passes were it not for the mid-air movement of his strike!
The two sides are struggling to keep the ball, with numerous passes going astray - most notably Brahimi's attempt at a Hollywood pass which was snapped up by Pepe.
Ángel Di María
The tempo of the match has plummeted following a raft of substitutions by both teams.
Isco goes for the spectacular with a free shot at goal, but Murillo blocks the attempt. Meanwhile, Fatau tries a similar technique at the other end of the pitch and sees his attempt harmlessly dribble into the advertising hoardings.
That was Benzema's last contribution to proceedings, as Isco replaces him for the last 12 minutes. Meanwhile, the impressive Piti wins his side a free kick, but another delivery is wasted.
Jese tries to play through Benzema, as Granada's last line of defence increasingly pushes higher and higher up the pitch, but the goalscorer is offside for the umpteenth time today.
Goal Karim Benzema
TWO TO THE BLANCOS!!! That's the Madrid we all know and love (well, most of us) ... ! A quick-fire move leaves Marcelo merely having to cut the ball back for Benzema to sweep home.
HE HITS THE BAR!!! The Ballon d'Or winner blasts an effort, which takes a heavy deflection to lift it over the wall, and crashes against the crossbar!!!
Brahimi has been forced to drop deeper and deeper - probably in the respects of damage limitation - and he concedes a foul on Xabi Alonso. What can Ronaldo do from central to goal...
Mainz has been excellent so far. Again, he reads the run of Ronaldo to perfection after the winger brought down a diagonal pass near the penalty spot, before playing the ball out of danger.
MODRIC AGAIN!!! The Croat has had his fair share of chances this afternoon, and once more he fluffs a Ronaldo cross by sending a finish into the stand behind the Granada goal.
Yellow Card Ángel Di María
As Di Maria hauls Nyom to the ground, the Andalucians have been dealt a taste of their own medicine. Fatau has constantly been the bane of Madrid players due to his tendency to nip at opponents' heels.
Yellow Card M. Iturra
FREE KICK TO REAL MADRID!!! Carvajal was scythered into the ground by Iturra, offering Ronaldo another chance to add to his tally from distance, but the Portuguese's strike flies just over the bar!
Marcelo and Pepe collide into El-Arabi in the final third, but Angulo's free kick is headed away by Carvajal in an instant.
Yellow Card Luka Modric
Granada were still in with a shout of grabbing at least a point before Ronaldo's deadlock-breaker. It remains to be seen how the Liga minnows react to falling a goal behind, although they have been slightly meaty with their challenges admittedly.
Assist Luka Modric
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!! Who else but that man Ronaldo, who swivels on the ball on the edge of the box before powering a low shot into the bottom-right corner! However, there's some slight controversy as Fatau was down injured while the move progressed.
Ronaldo takes over Di Maria down the left and floats a cross into the box which Modric meets but can only steer wide of the target.
Yellow Card Karim Benzema
DI MARIAAAA!!! The shackles have been removed from the Argentine, who is enjoying the increased freedom afforded to him since the interval. First, he curls a strike with the outside of his boot towards the top-right corner of the Granada goal, before playing through Modric one-on-one with Roberto!
A through ball reaches Ronaldo in the box, and the attacker back-heels into space, but Iturra is there to intervene and hack the ball away for a Madrid corner.
Jese, on the other flank, drives into the box but smashes a shot into the side-netting. Ronaldo is furious with the young Spaniard for not playing the ball into the area!
OFFSIDE ... AGAIN!! Di Maria moves out on the left and bends a cross into the box which Benzema blasts onto the bar, yet the striker is a good yard beyond his marker.
The match restarts, with Jese replacing Bale in the Madrid XI for the second period.
The half-time whistle is blown, with Real Madrid and Granada at gridlock!
45' + 1'
INCREDIBLE SAVE!!!! Roberto makes what could be the save of the season after another piece of slow build-up play ends up with Ronaldo slamming an overhead kick towards goal from Modric's cross, but the goalkeeper somehow keeps out the Portuguese's effort before Bale's rebounded header fails to threaten.
Ronaldo ends a forgettable first half of play with an obvious strike from long range which whistles into the atmosphere.
Bale tries to cut inside rather than hug the touchline on this occasion, but he skips straight into trouble. Madrid are in desperate need of an injection of creativity at this point.
Ronaldo threatens to ask questions of the Granada defence with his customary quick feet, but he loses out this time to Mainz, who stands his ground aptly.
Ancelotti paints a picture of glumness from the sidelines as he sees another attack break down in front of his eyes through Bale's overhit cross, which evaded Ronaldo at the back post. He knows that anything other than three points today would be unacceptable.
Recio is robbed by Modric in the middle of the park, and he sets Bale on his way with a fine forward pass, yet the winger's shot is wild as it swerves into the orbit.
The crowd are far from content with what they've witnessed up until now with some intermittent jeering. Meanwhile, Alonso - in un-Alonso-like fashion - overcooks a free kick.
Madrid are showing signs of coming into their element here as Ronaldo easily bypasses Nyom and drills a delicate low cross into the path of Bale, who can only miscontrol the pass and allow Roberto to pick up the loose ball.
Not for the first time, Granada are pulled up by the referee, with Piti clattering into the back of Marcelo.
Angulo gets the beating of Carvajal on the left - but not the touchline as the ball is adjudged to have momentarily rolled off the field of play.
OFFSIDE! Benzema is about to put Madrid ahead from Ronaldo's knock-down following a Modric corner, but the striker was too eager to find the back of the net.
There's been fits and spurs from Madrid so far but nothing to suggest that they could be serious challengers on all three fronts this season. As some of the comments have pointed out, they are finding it surprisingly tricky to take the game to Granada and would undoubtedly struggle to reach their dream of the Decima by playing in this lackadaisical manner.
BENZEMAAA!!! The Frenchman was off-balance but arguably should have done better as he acrobatically skies Marcelo's pinpoint deep cross at the back post!
Modric and Ronaldo seem to be on eachother's wavelengths at the moment, but Di Maria's cross after collecting the ball from the No.7 was horribly out of sync as it failed to beat the first man.
Yellow Card Sergio Ramos
Nyom leaves Marcelo in his wake, but out of nowhere comes Ramos, who dives straight into the former Udinese man. Cynical is an understatement as he escapes unpunished!
Both teams squander position in the middle of the pitch, with no-one currently threatening to grab the match by the horns. Carvajal takes the throw on the far-right touchline.
THAT'S BETTER FROM GRANADA!!! El-Arabi capitalises on a mistake from Marcelo on the left wing, and he does well to attack Ramos and curl an effort just over the bar from the edge of the box.
WHAT A CHANCE!!! Di Maria whips up a tantalising cross which meets the unopposed head of Ronaldo, but the Portuguese somehow scrapes the bar from a matter of yards out!
Yellow Card Murillo
YELLOW CARD! Murillo is booked for booting Bale in a ... particular region after the Welshman dashed forward with the Granada goal in sight.
Ronaldo looks lively early on with his off-the-ball movement, and he is finally presented with an opportunity to fire an attempt at goal, but after dropping his shoulder to take his man on, it spins wayward.
Bale bursts down the right flank and sends a low cross which is deflected into the grateful hands of Roberto.
Madrid speed things up with a rapid transition from defence to attack, however Benzema can't quite get onto the end of Modric's promising through ball as the goalkeeper mops up.
The away side play some nice interchanges in the final third, eventually finding Brahimi out on the wide left, but the resulting corner amounts to nothing.
Granada get the action under way, going from right-to-left in their dark third strip.
The players flood out onto the pitch, with Ronaldo proudly showcasing the Ballon d'Or he won only a fortnight ago in front of the cameras. He includes the rest of his team in the pre-match camaraderies!
Meanwhile for Granada, their coach Lucas Alcaraz has opted to level with the capital giants, using an identical tactical system.
Despite murmurs that Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti would switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation for today's visit of Granada, he has kept faith with the 4-3-3. One change is seen in goal as Diego Lopez returns to the fold, replacing Iker Casillas who deputised in the Copa del Rey midweek.
And last but not least, the visitors: Roberto; Nyom, Mainz, Murillo, Angulo; Fatau, Iturra, Recio; Piti, El-Arabi, Brahimi.
Here are the two teams, starting with the Blancos: Lopez; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Alonso, Modric, Di Maria; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Hello and welcome to LIVE commentary of the early kick-off in La Liga between Real Madrid and Granada. I'm Livio Caferoglu, and I'll be guiding you through all the twists and turns as they happen at the Santiago Bernabeu!
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