Real maintain pursuit of title

Madrid, February 8

Real Madrid maintained their pursuit with a laboured 2-1 win at Granada in the La Liga clash on Sunday.

Third place Real remained four points behind Barca and one short of Atletico Madrid after a superb late strike by Luka Modric gave them victory at Granada.

Gary Neville’s Valencia, however, suffered another defeat, losing 1-0 at Real Betis to extend their winless run to 12 matches and nine under the former Manchester United defender. “I don’t think we deserved to lose the game today,” said the beleaguered Neville, who faced questions about his job with his team plunging towards the relegation zone.

Karim Benzema gave Real the lead on the half hour at Granada when Dani Carvajal found him unmarked in the middle of the penalty area to score his 19th league goal, one less than Suarez and level with team mate Cristiano Ronaldo. Granada scored a deserved equaliser on the hour through substitute Youssef El-Arabi who shot through keeper Keylor Navas’s legs from the right.

Real needed a moment of inspiration to overcome a tough Granada side and Modric delivered it with a fine strike from the edge of the box into the far top corner for his first league goal of the season five minutes from time.

Betis striker Ruben Castro scored the only goal in Seville four minutes into the second half as they ended a nine-match winless run in the league dating back to a victory at Levante in November.

Valencia finished the match with 10 men after left back Jose Luis Gaya was sent off for bringing down Belgian loan signing Charly Musonda in the 85th minute. Neville’s team slipped to 13th in the standings, one place below Betis with both on 25 points.

Ten-man Sevilla, who had Argentine defender Federico Fazio sent off in the 25th minute for a second yellow card in his first match since returning from Tottenham Hotspur on loan, hung on for a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo. Sevilla, who crushed Celta 4-0 at home in Thursday’s first leg of their King’s Cup semi-final, went ahead through Daniel Carrico in the 43rd minute.

Celta got a deserved equaliser in the 64th with a fine goal scored by Claudio Beauvue, who converted a Daniel Wass cross from the left, but their siege of the Sevilla goal in the final quarter failed to deliver

a winner.