Real Madrid ran riot at Granada on Sunday afternoon, earning a 4-1 victory to return to the top of La Liga.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men took their time to find their feet in the game but managed to open the scoring on 19 minutes. Marco Asensio showed great composure to race through on goal and finish past Luis Maximiano after latching onto Toni Kroos’ perfectly weighted through ball.
The German maestro then grabbed a second assist six minutes later. Catching Granada napping, he worked a corner short with Luka Modric before squaring for Nacho Fernandez, who finished with aplomb off the underside of the crossbar.
The visitors, however, were pegged back before half time courtesy of some sharp recovery work in midfield. The ball eventually found its way to Luis Suarez, whose long-range effort deflected off Nacho and wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois before nestling into the bottom corner.
Real Madrid re-established their two-goal cushion ten minutes into the second half, however, with a glorious breakaway move. Playing a stunning one-two with Casemiro, Karim Benzema surged through the opposition half and into the area before beautifully picking out Modric in front of goal. Rather than scoring, the Croatian sent the Granada keeper flying with a slight feint and nonchalantly pulled back for Vinicius Jr to tap into an empty net.
Ancelotti’s side began to properly express themselves thereafter, and it was Vinicius’ untouchable dribbling that led to the hosts having a man sent off with just over 20 minutes remaining. Sprinting away and evading challenges down the left wing, the Brazilian attracted an overzealous challenge from Monchu, who saw straight red. Following his protestation, under pressure Granada boss Robert Moreno was also sent off – practically sealing the hosts’ fate in the match.
The man advantage didn’t take long to take its toll. In the 76th minute, Ferland Mendy made it 4-1, taking Casemiro’s pass in his stride and sliding the pall past Maximiano with great confidence.
Four goals seemed to suffice for Los Blancos, as they calmly saw out the rampant win. With the three points, Ancelotti’s side leapfrog Sevilla and Real Sociedad to take top spot in La Liga, while forcing Granada into the relegation zone.
Here’s how the Real Madrid players rated.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 7/10 – Had absolutely no chance with Suarez’s diverted strike and was otherwise as dependable as ever, preserving the 4-1 lead with an especially sensational stop late on.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 7/10 – Fared very well considering Asensio’s penchant to ignore defensive responsibility, registering five ball recoveries and seven clearances.
Nacho Fernandez (CB) – 7/10 – Unlucky with the costly deflection but defended resiliently for the large majority – and finished well to notch his side’s second.
David Alaba (CB) – 7/10 – Read the game well and showed great pace to remain alert and cover his colleagues, cutting out the danger of Granada breakaways and crosses on several occasions.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 8/10 – Finished excellently to make it 4-1 and was typically solid in his defensive duties.
Casemiro (DM) – 7/10 – Was slow to cover his back four when Real lost possession in the build-up to Granada’s strike but was otherwise present to screen his teammates, making six defensive interventions. Spread the ball around wonderfully at times, notably setting his side away for their third and assisting Mendy with a great through ball.
Luka Modric (CM) – 8/10 – Demonstrated great energy and precision in his play throughout, picking out little pockets of space and proving central to Los Blancos’ dangerous build-up play. Fantastically unselfish to provide Vinicius with an open goal for Real’s third.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 8/10 – Typically tidy in possession, always calmly building play and progressing his side upfield. Played a lovely ball through to assist Asensio for Real’s first and created the second with quick-thinking and clinical playmaking.
Marco Asensio (RW) – 8/10 – Sharp throughout, proving his side’s biggest threat with intelligent movement, brilliant feet and generally assured play. Been given a new lease of life under Ancelotti and deservedly notched his side’s opener.
Karim Benzema (ST) – 7/10 – So impactful with his elusive positioning and progressive link-up play, doing brilliantly in the build-up to Madrid’s third.
Vinicius Jr (LW) – 7/10 – Looked really dangerous in advanced areas, constantly worrying the opposition with his electric footwork and directness. Sloppy to lose the ball in the build-up to Granada’s goal but eventually redeemed himself by notching the visitors’ third.
Rodrygo (LW) – 7/10 – Caused problems after his introduction, with some incredibly skilful footwork.
Luka Jovic (ST) – 6/10
Eduardo Camavinga (CM) – 6/10
Isco (CM) – 6/10
Jesus Vallejo (CB) – N/A