Granada 1-2 Real Madrid: La Liga champions stay on course for 100 points

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
May 6th, 2012
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(L-R, front row): Real Madrid's Pepe, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate with team-mates during a parade in central Madrid after winning the Spanish first division soccer league title May 3, 2012. Thousands of jubilant Real Madrid fans converged on the centre of the Spanish capital on Thursday to hail their conquering heroes and celebrate the club's first La Liga title in four years. REUTERS/Susana Vera (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Real Madrid shook off their title-winning hangover in the nick of time to serve Granada a relegation warning.

Having wrapped up their 32nd championship in midweek, the capital club appeared to still be in celebration mode when Franco Jara put Granada ahead with five minutes gone.

That was taking them clear of relegation for the season, only for their situation to be turned on its head in a dramatic final 10 minutes.

First, Cristiano Ronaldo won and converted an equalising penalty, before David Cortes put Karim Benzema`s injury-time cross into his own goal.

Then, at the final whistle, Granada’s players surrounded police-protected referee Clos Gomez, with Cortes and Borja Perez shown red cards, while the official also seemed to be hit by a bottle thrown by one of the players.

The scenes were reminiscent of Granada’s game with Real Mallorca earlier this season, when the same referee abandoned play after one of his assistants was struck with an umbrella.

As a result, Granada now head into their final encounter with Rayo Vallecano still not sure of safety. They are two points clear and know a draw will be enough.

Their quest to get safe tonight could not have got off to a better start, with Jara crashing home from 12 yards early on.

Odion Ighalo then rapped two drives into the bodies of Marcelo and stand-in keeper Antonio Adan as Madrid floundered, with distance strikes from Kaka and Ronaldo the best they could muster.

Granada`s aggressive tactics were unsettling Real and they repeatedly peppered their box with crosses, before Ronaldo unusually wasted a golden opportunity when he nodded Benzema’s cross wide.

Even Jose Mourinho’s half-time words could not rally Madrid and they continued to struggle after the interval, with Ighalo again working Adan and Carlos Martins hitting wide.

Raphael Varane, another to be given his chance with the title secured, then headed over for Real, before Benzema stung the palms of Julio Cesar from close range.

The equaliser, albeit barely deserved, did arrive, however, when Ronaldo was felled by Moises Hurtado and the Portugal captain did the rest.

Real sniffed blood and, with three minutes of injury time played, Benzema squared a cross which Cortes somewhat clumsily turned into his own goal.

Ugly scenes then followed the final whistle, with the Granada squad surrounding the referee, seemingly upset about the penalty decision.

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