LaLiga: Real Madrid move closer to title after win against Granada; Sevilla secure top four spot after Villarreal loss


Madrid can clinch their first title since 2017 on Thursday with a win at Villarreal, or if Barcelona lose points when they hosts Osasuna.

Madrid: After their ninth straight win following the pandemic break, Real Madrid are on the verge of reclaiming the Spanish league title.

Madrid defeated Granada 2-1 on Monday to move within two points of winning the trophy.

Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema scored first-half goals to keep Madrid four points ahead of second-placed Barcelona with two rounds to go.

Madrid can clinch their first title since 2017 on Thursday with a win at Villarreal, or if Barcelona lose points when they hosts Osasuna. Two draws in the final two rounds will also be enough to secure Madrid a record 34th league trophy.

“We are a step closer but we can’t relax, we haven’t won anything yet,” Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said. “There are still points to be won. We depend on ourselves and we have a game at home coming up, hopefully we can win it and celebrate the league title.”

Madrid were in control early in Granada and Mendy’s first goal since joining the Spanish club this season came from a beautiful angled shot into the top corner after getting past a defender inside the area in the 10th minute.

Benzema added to the lead six minutes later by scoring his 19th league goal with a right-footed strike into the far corner.

Granada, who was 10th in the standings, got on the board with a goal by Darwin Machís in the 50th and pressured to the end.

The hosts came closest to the equaliser with about five minutes left, when Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to make a difficult save and Ramos cleared a shot at the goal line.

Madrid had not conceded a goal in their last five league matches.

Fourth-place Sevilla

Sevilla secured the final Champions League spot after Villarreal lost to Real Sociedad 2-1.

The loss left Villarreal nine points behind fourth-placed Sevilla with two rounds to go. Sevilla beat Mallorca 2-0 on Sunday for their fourth straight win.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have the other berths in the Champions League.

Sevilla last featured in the Champions League in 2018 when they were eliminated by Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals. They played in the Europa League in 2018-19 and this season, where they will face Roma in the round of 16.

Villarreal needed a win to keep alive their hopes of making it to the Champions League. They has won six of their nine matches following the pandemic break, but the home setback against Sociedad ended their chances of qualifying. They remains in good position to grab a Europa League spot, though, as they kept fifth place.

Sociedad also stayed in contention for the Europa League with their third win since the break, moving to seventh place. Willian José scored in the 61st minute and Diego Llorente in the 75th, while the hosts pulled closer through Santi Cazorla in the 85th.

Getafe stalls

Getafe stayed in sixth place after drawing at relegation-threatened Alavés 0-0.

A late goal disallowed by video review kept Getafe from earning their second win since the league resumed after the pandemic stoppage.

Alavés have also won only once since the break and are winless in seven straight league matches. They are four points above the relegation zone.

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