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January 7, 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
• Attendance: 72000
FULL-TIME! Real Madrid secure a 5-1 home win with a brace from Benzema and goals from Ramos, Higuain and Ronaldo. The home side were not at their best yet they did not have to be. Mourinho's men are now six points clear at the top of Liga with Barcelona visiting Espanyol tomorrow. That's it from me tonight. Goodnight people!
90' + 1'
Madrid have been in second gear for the majority of this game yet find themselves 5-1. This game really does highlight the gulf in quality between the top two and the rest of the league.
Goal C. Ronaldo
5-1! Diarra's pass to Kaka take a touch off a Granada defender as the ball falls to Ronaldo on the edge of the box. The Portuguese attacker makes no mistake in slamming the ball past the keeper.
Ronaldo attempts his luck from 30 yards out. It's a great effort from the winger the ball drifts just wide with Roberto flying across goal.
Wonderful interception by Lopez. Madrid hit the away team on the counter attack and Ronaldo looks like he is going to slide Kaka in on goal. However, Lopez is on cue to time his sliding challenge perfectly to come away with the ball.
Kaka tries to control the ball yet it goes out of play for a throw-in for Granada. Altintop is on for Higuain.
As we head into the final 10 minutes the score is still 4-1. It looks unlikely at the moment that we will see another goal in this game with both sides looking like they aren ready for the final whistle.
It has to be said, the Granada support have been brilliant this season and have not stopped singing. Abel is on for Martins for the visitors.
Marcelo whips a ball into the box with men in white shirt's lurking yet it's a poor cross as Roberto claims the ball easily.
Kaka whips a great cross into the box yet Ronaldo gets too much contact on the ball as it drifts over the crossbar. Could we see a rare evening where the former Manchester United man does not score?
Roberto slips as he plays the ball out of defence yet luckily a defender is on hand to mop up any danger. That slip really sums up the keeper's second half performance.
Granada have a corner here. Can they grab a goal back? Erm...the answer is no as Diakhite's flick on heads wide.
Free-kick for Madrid with Ronaldo trying his luck from the edge of the box. It's probably a little too close for the Portguese international who misses the target by a few yards.
Martins looks to play in the pacy Uche yet Ramos shows wonderful anticipation to read the play to march out of defence with the ball.
Free-kick is given against Varane as Benitez goes down. However, replays show it was a superb challenge from the young Frenchman who took all of the ball.
The tempo of this game really has lowered in the last five minutes. Damage limitation for Granada while the home side are in no rush to grab more goals.
Yellow Card Gonzalo Higuaín
Granada have been very disappointing in the second half. You have to feel a little sorry for their attackers who know the game is basically out of their reach after some lacklustre defending.
Madrid are calmly knocking the ball around the pitch now as they look to grab a fifth. Xabi Alonso heads the ball down to Callejon yet the attacker's attempt is blocked and then cleared.
How many goals can the league leaders grab tonight? It's all down to if they're willing to keep up the current quick tempo or if they choose to rest on their laurels.
Surely it is now game over in this one as Granada forget how to defend in the first five minutes of the second period. Benzema is replaced by Callejon.
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal Karim Benzema
4-1! BENZEMA GRABS HIS SECOND! The Frenchman receives a great long ball from Ozil before controlling the ball in the box and firing the ball into the far corner of the net with the keeper helpless
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
3-1 MADRID! Granada go to sleep defensively here. Marcelo looks like he has overran the ball as he gets into the box yet the Brazilian toe pokes the ball to Higuain. The Argentine is then allowed to get his shot away from 15 yards as the ball trickles through a defender's legs and into the net.
Granada get the second-half back underway. No changes for either side with the visitors looking to attack straight away.
HALF-TIME! Madrid head into the break 2-1 up courtesy of goals from Benzema and Ramos. However, it hasn't gone all the home side's way, especially when Mikel Rico cancelled out Benzema's opener on 22 minutes. It has been a decent showing from both sides which has made for an enthralling encounter. Do not go anywhere peeps, second half on the way in 15 minutes!
Benzema tries his luck from the edge of the box. It's a fairly average effort yet the keeper spills it before gathering the ball at the feet of Higuain on second attempt.
Remember to tweet your thoughts on the game to me on Twitter @LukasMaf. What are your predictions for the final score?
We're getting plenty of attempts at goal right now. This time Benitez shoots from 30 metres out. It's a powerful effort but straight down the throat of Casillas who catches the ball.
Ronaldo cuts into the penalty area yet his shot is pretty dreadful as it's high, wide and not so handsome.
Madrid's turn to shoot from outside the box as Marcelo's powerful shot takes a slight deflection off Lopez. However, Roberto is equal to it and cleanly claims the ball on the ground.
Uche drifts in-field from the right wing yet his powerful effort from range is too ambitious as Casillas watches the ball drift harmlessly past his post.
How will Granada respond this time to going a goal down? Surely Madrid would have learned from their mistakes and will remember to mark their opposite numbers.
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal Sergio Ramos
2-1 MADRID! Think I just gave Granada the kiss of death. Ozil whips an inviting corner into the box and Ramos is on cue to power a firm header into the net. Great play from the defender who was determined to get his head to the ball.
Exceptional response from the visitors after going a goal down. Fabri's men looking the better team at the moment.
Siqueira smashes a lovely cross into the box yet Ramos is on hand to put the ball out of play for a corner with Benitez lurking.
BRILLIANT PLAY BY GRANADA! Rico plays a great little one-two with Yebda before opening his body up and curling the ball towards goal from the edge of the box. However Casillas is on cue to parry the ball to safety. Before that they nearly created an opening after a positive run from Yebda yet the Algerian's final ball to Ighalo left the striker with too much to do.
Nice effort from Ronaldo. The Portuguese attacker turns towards goal with the ball at his effort and tries his luck from 30 metres out. Roberto is at full-stretch yet the shot drifts a little wide of the top corner.
Frustration oozing into Madrid's game now as Khedira lunges late into a challenge on Yebda with a free-kick being awarded to the away team.
Be honest...who expected that? Just as Madrid were threatening to run riot tonight, some sloppy marking allows Granada to equalise. How will Mourinho's men respond?
Yellow Card Roberto
Goal Mikel Rico
1-1! GRANADA EQUALISE! Well that's a turn up for the books. Uche does well to get past Marcelo down the right before clipping a cross into the box with an unmarked Mikel Rico on hand to head the ball into the bottom far corner, with it going in off the post. Very poor marking from the home team with no one picking up the midfield runner.
Khedira attempts to make it 2-0 yet his effort from the edge of the box is straight at the goalkeeper. After making a bright start to the game it was Nyom's mistake that led to that goal for Madrid.
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal Karim Benzema
1-0 MADRID! Nyom gives the ball away before the ball is picked up by Ozil. The German playmaker gets the ball out to Ronaldo who returns it to the 23-year-old with a lovely chipped pass. Ozil then knocks the ball to Benzema who is waiting on hand to sweep it home from six yards out. Lovely team move.
CLOSE FROM RAMOS! Xabi Alonso plays a delightful cross into the box which is met by the head of the defender. However, Ramos can only watch on as the ball narrowly loops over Roberto's crossbar.
Good defending from Nyom. The right-back is up against Ronaldo who attempts to take the ball past the man on-loan from Udinese. However, the defender puts the ball out for a corner.
CHANCE FOR GRANADA! Well, I say chance, they have their first shot on target. Benitez drives forward and into the box before turning Khedira and shooting from 18 yards out. However, his effort is rather tame and Casillas collects the ball rather easily.
After some slick build-up play Diarra finds Khedira on the edge of the box yet the German midfielder smashes the ball well wide of the goal.
Despite Mourinho's team still dominating possession, Granada have done better in recent minutes to close down space and make it a little harder for the home side. Saying that, Marcelo clips a ball into the box which Ronaldo can only head high and wide.
The home side look very strong in these early stages and it is difficult to imagine us going long without a goal in this game. Can Granada ease their way into this game?
Lovely ball into the box by Ronaldo who nearly picks out Benzema for a tap-in from two yards. However, Siqueira does brilliantly to smash the ball out of play at full stretch.
CLOSE AGAIN! A Xabi Alonso corner is whipped invitingly into the box yet Varane and Higuain seem to get in the way of one another as the ball eventually drifts wide. Lively opening from Madrid.
Great play from Los Blancos. Xabi Alonso finds Benzema with a wonderful 60 yard pass. The Frenchman controls the ball before making his way past Siqueira and playing it along the six-yard line. However there were no takers as Ronaldo's lunge for the ball saw it go out of play.
Granada have settled a little now in their first meeting with Madrid for 36 years. An important man for the away team tonight will be Diakhite at centre-half, the club's record signing from Dynamo Kiev last summer.
The home team continue to look impressive in the very early stages of this game. Mourinho's men are committing men forward as Diarra is the next player to give a free-kick away for a late lunge on Benitez.
Madrid get the game underway and are immediately looking to attack the visitors. However, a foul is awarded to Granada as Benzema backs into a defender.
Both sets of players are now making their way onto the pitch. Looks like Granada will be lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation although the side have two strikers on the pitch in Ighalo and Uche. Certainly not the most defensive side to come to the Bernabeu this season.
The big surprise news is that Mourinho has opted to play Benzema and Higuain upfront together which could result in a goalfest for the home team. Let me know on Twitter what your thoughts are on the two playing together and your predictions for the game @LukasMaf.
Granada: Roberto, Nyom, Lopez, Diakhite, Siqueira; Mikel Rico, Yebda; Uche, Martins, Benitez; Ighalo
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas, Diarra, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Khedira; Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain, Benzema.
Here come the teams...
So first Liga game of 2012 for Madrid and it is difficult to see anything other than a home victory tonight - especially when you take into consideration the Spanish giants have won their first league game of the new year for the past 20 years. Last time they suffered a defeat in the first match of a year was in 1991, a 3-0 loss to rivals Atletico.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of the Liga Saturday evening fixture between Real Madrid and Granada from the Santiago Bernabeu. I'm Luke Matthews and I'll be guiding you through tonight's action. Jose Mourinho's men will be heavy favourites against the newly-promoted side. However, can the visitors pull off one of the shocks of the season and earn all three points against Madrid?
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