Real Madrid moved back to the top of La Liga with a 2-0 victory at home to Granada on Saturday evening.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side leapfrogged Girona in the standings after the season’s surprise package earned a stunning late 2-1 comeback victory against Valencia earlier on Saturday.
Alexander Medina’s first match in charge of Granada ended in an expected defeat and his side remain 19th in the table.
How the game unfolded
Granada were forced into an early change when goalkeeper Raul Fernandez sustained an injury and had to be replaced by Andre Ferreira. Real Madrid sought to take advantage of this with a series of crosses from Dani Carvajal and Federico Valverde, but none found their intended target.
Down the other end, Granada went close to taking a shock lead, with Bryan Zaragoza’s cross turned narowly wide by Raul Torrente.
Midway through the first half, Real Madrid broke the deadlock. Brahim Diaz cut inside from the right and his bouncing pass found Toni Kroos, who returned it back to the attacking midfielder with a sumptuous ball between two Granada defenders, dinking it beyond Ferreira.
Just before the break, Jude Bellingham had his first sight of goal, running on to the end of a neat flick from Brahim, but firing wide from a tight angle.
Within 11 minutes of the restart, Real Madrid added their second. Ferland Mendy’s ball inside from the left found Joselu, who released Brahim into the channels to fire in a low cross for Bellingham. The England midfielder was denied by a stunning save from Ferreira, but Rodrygo was on hand to lash in the rebound.
A third goal nearly followed when Bellingham’s delectable pass over the top of the sleeping Granada backline found the run of Valverde, but his close-range effort was blocked behind.
Real Madrid had to settle for just the two goals in the end and their victory was secured after three minutes of second-half stoppage time.
GK: Andriy Lunin – 6/10 – Had little to do for much of the evening. Kept his place in the lineup despite Kepa’s availability.
RB: Dani Carvajal – 6/10 – Sent in a series of wicked crosses during his 45 minutes on the pitch. Given just a little bit of bother by Zaragoza going the other way.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – 8/10 – Set the tone early on with a meaty tackle. Sturdy throughout and would not be beaten.
CB: David Alaba – 7/10 – Like Rudiger had early work when clearing a low cross but didn’t have a lot on his plate from there on in.
LB: Ferland Mendy – 7/10 – Always gave his support further up the pitch and played a part in Real Madrid’s second goal of the evening.
CM: Federico Valverde – 6/10 – Brought his usual energy but wasn’t as involved as he has been in other games this season.
CM: Toni Kroos – 8/10 – Picked and chose his moments, notably finding Brahim with a wonderfully weighted pass leading to the opening goal.
AM: Brahim Diaz – 9/10 – Ancelotti found a way to accomodate both Brahim and Bellingham in his starting lineup, with the former impressing more than anyone else on the Santiago Bernabeu pitch today. Glided effortlessly between the lines to cause Granada all sorts of problems.
AM: Jude Bellingham – 8/10 – Harassed and harried plenty by Granada’s defenders who sought to mark him tightly. Still got his sights of goal but couldn’t find the net on this occasion.
CF: Rodrygo – 8/10 – Putting together a string of impressive performances in this central role and without the support of compatriot Vinicius.
CF: Joselu – 7/10 – Served his purpose well, holding up the ball and bringing others into play. Had a say in Real Madrid’s second goal.
SUB: Lucas Vazquez (46′ for Carvajal) – 6/10
SUB: Dani Ceballos (70′ for Joselu) – 6/10
SUB: Gonzalo Garcia (85′ for Rodrygo) – N/A
SUB: Nico Paz (88′ for Brahim) – N/A
Subs not used: Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK), Lucas Canizares (GK), Nacho Fernandez, Fran Garcia, Mario Martin, Nico Paz, Theo Zidane
Carlo Ancelotti – 7/10 – This was as comfortable a game as Real Madrid could have expected to play.