Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema each scored one goal in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win against Granada, therefore helping keep pressure or FC Barcelona. At the moment Real is in first place, two points ahead of both Barcelona and city rivals Atlético Madrid, although both of those teams have played one less game. Each team has the opportunity to surpass Real in the standings if they secure three points in their respective games on Sunday. Real’s victory marked their fifth consecutive win in La Liga. Since the winter break Real has not conceded a goal. This run has now lasted seven games, and includes both cup and league play. They are also undefeated in 11 league games, after succumbing to Barcelona in October.
Ronaldo was recently voted the best player in the world. Before the contest the Portuguese playmaker proudly lifted the Ballond’Or trophy, the reward one receives for being chosen as the best in the game, in the air for all present fans to admire. Appropriately, he scored the game’s first goal in the 56th minute. Benzema’s goal fell in the 74th minute
Even though Ronaldo played an important part in the game, it took him a while to find his best form, something that could be said about the team in general. Ronaldo’s impact during the first half of the game was limited, until Luka Modrić crossed a ball towards him. Ronaldo unleashed a spectacular cross from the penalty area, but Granada goalkeeper Roberto managed to prevent a goal. Indeed, Roberto’s save was probably more impressive than Ronaldo’s attempt on goal. Eventually Ronaldo scores in the second half, leading his team to a win and helping Real Madrid keep pressure on Barcelona. He also played an important part in the second goal, providing Benzema with an assist.
Overall it was a good day for Real, although the game may have resulted in Gareth Bale missing the next few games. The Welsh player was fouled by Murillo in the ninth minute, and the Granada defender was issued the game’s first yellow card by referee Manzano as a result of the offense. The hard tackle resulted in Bale being substituted at halftime by Jesé. Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti had initially left Bale in the game, but eventually deemed it necessary to replace him. Ancelotti later stated that he was not comfortable keeping Bale on the field after he suffered such a hard tackle.
If Bale does become ineligible for a while due to injury, it will probably not cause a great deal of concern to the coaching staff. Real played better the second half, with him off the field, with his replacement playing quality soccer. The Welshmen has been inconsistent lately, and this may provide Ancelotti with a good opportunity to test other players. Even if Bale will not be fit to play in the next game, Ronaldo probably will be. Today was a good day for Real Madrid fans, as Ronald scores in a win, helping Real Madrid keep pressure on Barcelona in the standings.
By Jean-Paul Gauthier