Real Madrid 'still in it' after crushing Granada to maintain pressure on Atletico in title race

Zinedine Zidane's team ease to 4-1 win on Thursday

Real Madrid kept the pressure on Atletico Madrid by thrashing Granada 4-1 on Thursday to reduce the gap to two points at the top of La Liga, with two games left to play.

A draw or defeat for Real Madrid would have given Atletico the chance to win the title on Sunday by beating Osasuna but goals from Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Alvaro Odriozola and Karim Benzema secured a comfortable victory at Los Carmenes.

Atletico could still be crowned champions this weekend if they overcome Osasuna and Real Madrid fail to win away at Athletic Bilbao but the Spanish title race has been full of surprises and still nothing is guaranteed.

"We're still in it," said Real coach Zinedine Zidane. "There are two games left, we have to deliver and today we delivered."

"We can only keep putting pressure on Atletico and hope they don't win both of their games," added goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. "We are close, there is no margin for error."

Even third-placed Barcelona are still in the running, even if Tuesday's 3-3 draw away at Levante leaves them needing an incredible swing of results if they are to overturn a four-point deficit in two games.

The theme of Real Madrid's challenge in recent weeks has been survival, their squad stretched to its limits by injuries and absentees but a particularly youthful team produced a vibrant display to see off a Granada side that earlier this month beat Barca at Camp Nou.

Zidane started three 20-year-olds and a 19-year-old in what was arguably, given the stakes, the club's most important league game of the season and his youngsters delivered.

Miguel Gutierrez, 19, started at right back and gave a spectacular assist for Modric's opener while the 20-year-old Marvin Park played at left back and made the recovery that led to the 20-year-old Rodrygo adding a second.

Zidane has been as loyal as ever to his ageing core this season but necessity has forced him to turn to look elsewhere and it remains to be seen whether he shows more trust in the likes of Miguel and Marvin in future.

"They did well from the start," said Zidane. "They want to play, they want to show their quality and that's what they've done."

Published: May 14, 2021 10:25 AM

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