Granada 1-2 Real Madrid: Luka Modric winner sees off gutsy Granada
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 08/02/16 12:27am
Luka Modric's late winner saw Real Madrid beat a gutsy Granada side 2-1 in La Liga on Sunday evening to keep pace with the top two.
Karim Benzema gave Real the lead on the half an hour mark, before Youssef El Arabi got the hosts a deserved equaliser half an hour later - two minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Granada had two goals disallowed for offside, and Modric dealt the killer blow in the 85th minute to seal the win for the visitors, but to the heartbreak of the home support.
The victory puts Real Madrid within one point of Atletico Madrid in second and four of Barcelona in first, while Granada remain in 19th place and two points from safety.
Despite their relegation battle, Granada were arguably the better side in the first half and could have been ahead after 12 minutes when Adalberto Penaranda had the ball in the net after beating an oncoming Keylor Navas, but was flagged offside.
Real Madrid weren't short of chances though, with Benzema skewing an over-head kick before Cristiano Ronaldo went on a surging run towards goal after a brilliant through-ball from James Rodriguez, but his effort went wide.
Granada were good value at both ends for much of the half, with David Lomban clearing a Modric cut-back that was intended for the oncoming Benzema - who would have had an assured tap-in.
But the in-form forward wasn't to be denied a second time, as he dealt the first blow after 30 minutes, getting on the end of a Dani Carvajal cross to slot home past Andres.
Granada could have nicked a well-deserved equaliser just before half-time, with Lopes' cross needing the slightest of touches from the incoming David Barral to put the ball past Navas, but he couldn't quite get there in time.
The second half started much like the first, with Granada racing out of the traps and Issac Success having an early shot that went just wide and Navas making a brilliant save from a Barral header.
But it was Andres who made a string of vital saves, most notably from Modric and Benzema, with the Frenchman also smashing an effort into the side-netting as Real Madrid pushed for a second goal.
But Granada deservedly got themselves level on the hour mark, with El Arabi scoring just minutes after replacing Barral and making himself Granada's joint-highest scorer in the process.
The referee had a hand in the build-up, colliding with Modric to send the ball into the path of Rochina, who crossed to the Morocco international and despite Carvajal's best efforts to keep his shot out, he was well beaten as the ball nestled into the back of the net.
The hosts could have gone ahead not long after, as El Arabi again guided the ball home, but the flag was already raised after Lomban's header into his path was deemed to be offside.
Although Granada continued to push for the winner, it was Modric who decided the game in the 85th minute, hitting a glorious effort from just outside the box to fire past a leaping Andres and seal a first away win for Real Madrid since the end of November.