Real Madrid turned on the style in a 4-1 win at Granada that showed Carlo Ancelotti’s team at their most vivacious.
It took them to the top of LaLiga, if only perhaps for a few hours, with Real Sociedad playing later on Sunday, with Marco Asensio, Nacho, Vinicius Junior and Ferland Mendy all on target.
Carlo Ancelotti inherited a side who lost out to city rivals Atletico in last season’s title battle, but all evidence at the Nuevo Los Carmenes pointed to this incarnation of Madrid being hard to stop.
Granada had Monchu red-carded midway through the second half, but Madrid were already 3-1 up and pressing for more at that stage.
10 – Real Madrid’s Vinícius Junior has become the first LaLiga player born in 2000 year to score at least 10 goals in all competitions in a single season. Early. pic.twitter.com/ngYhIEDOkE OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 21, 2021
Picked out in the inside right channel by a clever pass from Toni Kroos, Asensio opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he fired into the bottom-left corner for his fourth LaLiga goal this season.
It was 2-0 in the 25th minute as Kroos and Luka Modric played a neat one-two at a corner that resulted in Kroos crossing low from the left for Nacho at the near post to prod past goalkeeper Luis Maximiano, via the underside of the crossbar.
Asensio had a shot superbly cleared off the line by Alberto Soro, and Karim Benzema threatened, but Granada hit back when Luis Suarez’s fierce 25-yard strike deflected off Nacho and whistled past the wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois.
The second half began frantically, before Madrid put daylight between the teams again in the 56th minute, Vinicius putting the finishing touch to a high-speed counter-attack after Benzema carried the ball and fed Modric, who unselfishly squared to his young team-mate.
Vinicius was beginning to enjoy himself, and a lively charge from the Brazilian forward was only stopped by a wild challenge from Monchu, earning the Granada man a straight red card from Juan Martinez Munuera. A member of the home side’s dugout staff also appeared to be shown red for his protests, before Mendy added a fourth for Madrid in the 76th minute as Granada lost all focus.
What does it mean? Mighty Madrid, but familiar feeling for Granada
Granada have now lost their last 13 LaLiga games against Madrid, their longest run of defeats against a specific opponent in the competition, with Madrid hitting 44 goals in that sequence. Madrid’s focus stayed true to the final whistle, Courtois making a tremendous fingertip save late on.
Kroos did not have an assist to his name in LaLiga this season before this game, having missed the early weeks of the campaign with a groin problem and taken time to reintegrate. He opened his 2021-22 assists account with two in the opening half-hour here, in his sixth LaLiga game of the campaign. The first of those was his 50th assist for Madrid in LaLiga. He created a team-high four chances in all here, the German maestro back to his best.
Vinicius hits new heights
In what is becoming a revelatory campaign, Vinicius has now become the first LaLiga player born in 2000 to score at least 10 goals in all competitions in a single season. The 21-year-old is shaping up to be everything Madrid hoped he would become when they struck a deal in 2017 to acquire him from Flamengo.
Real Madrid travel to face Sheriff in the Champions League on Wednesday, before tackling Sevilla in a big LaLiga clash at the Santiago Bernabeu next Sunday. Granada head to Athletic Bilbao on Friday.