Granada 1-4 Real Madrid: Los Blancos keep LaLiga title hopes alive

By Sports Desk May 13, 2021

Real Madrid kept alive their LaLiga title hopes with an emphatic 4-1 win over Granada at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes on Thursday. 

The result moved Zinedine Zidane's side above Barcelona into second, two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with just two games remaining in the season.

Luka Modric got them on their way early on with his fourth league goal of the campaign – the first time he has achieved that since 2011-12 with Tottenham in the Premier League – before Rodrygo doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Jorge Molina threatened to set up a dramatic finale with a goal 19 minutes from time, but Los Blancos comfortably sealed an 18th win in their last 19 games against Granada thanks to goals from Alvaro Odriozola and Karim Benzema.

Madrid started on the front foot and almost went ahead after 14 minutes, Benzema's header forcing a smart stop from Rui Silva. 

Zidane's men opened the scoring three minutes later, though, when Modric latched onto Miguel Gutierrez's sumptuous flicked ball over the top and rolled through Silva's legs from a tight angle. 

The visitors' dominance was rewarded again in first-half stoppage time when Rodrygo powered into the penalty area down the right-hand side and fired across Silva for his first LaLiga goal of a frustrating campaign.

Granada reduced the deficit inside the final 20 minutes, Molina stroking into an empty net after Thibaut Courtois had parried Luis Suarez's strike into his path. 

Substitute Odriozola settled any Madrid nerves, though, powering home after Eden Hazard's cross had fallen kindly to him in the 75th minute. 

Benzema added gloss to the scoreline a minute later, expertly  into an unguarded net from 35 yards after Silva's slapstick attempt to cut out Casemiro's long ball over the top.

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    Gary Lineker has been at the centre of something of a storm when it comes to England at Euro 2024, and that story was plastered over social media on Monday.

    Then, the football took control, with Spain keeping up their winning run and Italy salvaging a draw against Croatia to claim a spot in the last 16.

    Here, we unpack the best of the day's social media clips from the tournament in Germany.

     

    Football, eh?

    Football... It's crazy! 

    With a minute to go, Italy - the holders - were on the brink of a possible exit, with Croatia leading 1-0 in Leipzig.

    Yet within 30 seconds, Mattia Zaccagni's maiden Azzurri goal had sent Italy through into the last 16, and it's Croatia who are on the verge of an early departure.

    Lineker responds

    There was a lot left to be desired following England's performance in their 1-1 draw with Denmark, but it is the post-match criticism that has since drawn the most attention.

    In particular, Lineker's comments were brought to the attention of Harry Kane in a recent press conference, with the England captain urging the pundits to support the squad.

    With the ball back in Lineker's court, he - along with fellow pundit Alan Shearer - had his say on the ongoing debate.

    Ferdinand chips into pundit debate

    Rio Ferdinand has done his fair share of punditry, and the former England defender had his say on the Lineker debate.

    Ferdinand said the England players shouldn't expect pundits to act as "cheerleaders" when the team aren't performing.

    Strike a pose

    With qualification for the knockout stages already complete, Portugal do not have to worry about any pressure going into their final match against Georgia.

    And while taking some time off during training, Joao Felix decided to try his hand at something a little different.

    We may even see some of his photos popping up on Portugal's official X account in the coming days.

    A family affair

    Among the travelling Spanish fans are a family of nine, who have made a 2000km journey to watch their nation at the tournament.

    After finally reaching their destination, they got to meet Ferran Torres, Marc Cucurella and Dani Vivian.

    Torres subsequently starred for Spain as La Roja stayed perfect in Group B by beating Albania, with the Barcelona forward scoring the only goal of the game.

    French cuisine 

    Ever wondered what an international footballer does at lunchtime?

    Well, fortunately for you, the French team allowed their social admins into the inner sanctum.

    Scholes backs Mainoo for big things

    More punditry relating to England, and this time it was Paul Scholes who had his say.

    Scholes thinks Kobbie Mainoo, who has had an impressive season with Manchester United, could be the player to pull the strings in midfield for the Three Lions.

    Vertonghen sees into the future

    Jan Vertonghen is playing in his sixth major tournament for Belgium, and his third Euros.

    Sitting down at Belgium's 'The Basecamp', the veteran defender was given a glimpse of what he will look like if he chooses to forgo retirement and keep playing with the help of AI.

    While Vertonghen was seemingly happy with the results, Maxim De Cuyper was not so impressed.

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    Luka Modric's history-making goal for Croatia proved fruitless as Mattia Zaccagni's last-gasp screamer sent Italy through into the last 16 of Euro 2024 after a 1-1 draw.

    Modric became the oldest player to score at the Euros when he slammed in from close range in the 55th minute - just 33 seconds after missing a penalty - and Croatia seemed all set to progress in second place from Group B, but Italy substitute Zaccagni had other ideas.

    With a sumptuous side-footed finish deep into the final throngs of stoppage time, Zaccagni claimed a point for the Azzurri, ensuring the holders will face Switzerland in the round of 16 on Saturday.

    Croatia, on the other hand, with just two points from their three matches, seem destined to miss out on one of the best third-placed finishes.

    Zlatko Dalic's team completed 329 passes in the first half – only against Scotland in June 2021 (337) have they completed more passes in a half at the Euros – but bar Luka Sucic's fizzing effort, they hardly tested Gianluigi Donnarumma.

    Indeed, Dominik Livakovic was the busier of the two goalkeepers, and he had to be at his best to deny Alessandro Bastoni an opener.

    Yet, the pace swiftly picked up in a frantic couple of minutes after the break, when Italy substitute Davide Frattesi was penalised for handball following a VAR review.

    After seeing his penalty saved by Donnarumma, Modric stayed alive to lash home on the rebound when a cross was worked back into the area, with Italy's goalkeeper having excellently denied Ante Budimir.

    Bastoni should have restored parity just after the hour, only for the defender to head over after meeting a corner unmarked.

    Gianluca Scamacca failed to meet Federico Chiesa's teasing cross as Croatia looked all set to head through, but there was to be one last twist.

    Having come on in the 81st minute, Zaccagni showed great composure to produce a piece of magic and send the holders through.

    A fond farewell?

    That might well be it for Modric, not just at the European Championship but at major tournaments as a whole. If it is the way he goes out, after his 16th appearance at the Euros, then he has done himself proud.

    At 38, he made history, etching his name into the Euros record books. 

    By the time he left the pitch in the 80th minute, Modric had played a team-leading 23 passes into the final third and won possession on six occasions, another team-high. 

    He looked distraught at the end, and at 38, surely that is the end for him at the European Championships, and maybe even major tournament football?

    Donnarumma pulls through

    Donnarumma was the star of the show for Italy at Wembley three years ago, with his saves in the shootout win over England.

    The three seasons that have followed have not been the best for the former Milan goalkeeper, who has made some high-profile errors for Paris Saint-Germain.

    Yet, he was on excellent form in Leipzig, making that exceptional penalty save and then an even more impressive stop to thwart Budimir, only to see Modric pick up the pieces when no defender reacted.

    Having become the youngest goalkeeper to play 10 matches at the Euros in the history of the competition (aged 25 years and 120 days), Donnarumma did not deserve to be on the losing side, and Zaccagni's moment of brilliance ensured that was not to be the case.

  • Albania 0-1 Spain: Torres strike keeps La Roja perfect Albania 0-1 Spain: Torres strike keeps La Roja perfect

    Ferran Torres scored the only goal as a much-changed Spain made it three wins from three in Group B with a narrow 1-0 victory over Albania, who were eliminated from Euro 2024.

    The Barcelona forward notched the decisive strike in the 13th minute at Dusseldorf Arena, where Luis de la Fuente made 10 changes with La Roja's qualification for the knockout stages and top spot already secured.

    Thomas Strakosha was called into early action to keep out Mikel Merino's bouncing header.

    However, the Albania goalkeeper was left helpless just minutes later when Torres peeled off the back of Mario Mitaj to latch onto Dani Olmo's throughball, and guide his low shot in off the inside of the far post.

    Spain wasted a flurry of chances before the break, with Torres and Merino sending their efforts just over the bar, before Kristjan Asllani forced a good save out of David Raya on the stroke of half-time.

    La Roja went close again within two minutes of the restart, as Joselu fired narrowly wide on the volley.

    Albania pushed for an equaliser at the other end with substitute Armando Broja twice calling Raya into action – in the 64th minute and second minute of stoppage time.

    Nevertheless, that levelling goal would elude Sylvinho's side who, following Croatia's 1-1 draw with Italy in Leipzig, were condemned to fourth place in Group B and an early exit.

    Data Debrief: Navas makes history for perfect Spain

    Spain progress to the last 16 of a European Championship with a 100% group-stage record for the first time since 2008, the year they won the first of their two titles.

    Among their 10 changes was Jesus Navas who, aged 38 years and 216 days, became the oldest player to represent La Roja at a major tournament.

    Torres' seventh direct goal involvement (five goals, two assists) is the joint-most by any Spain player since De la Fuente took charge (level with Joselu). 

    Meanwhile, Dani Olmo's assist was his fifth at a major tournament since the start of Euro 2020, the most by any player during that span.

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