GRANADA, Spain (Reuters) -Real Madrid swatted aside Granada 4-1 on Thursday to ensure the La Liga title race will go down to the wire.
Despite missing a number of first-team regulars, Real started the stronger and first-half strikes from Luka Modric and Rodrygo put the visitors in control.
Such was their dominance that even when Jorge Molina halved the deficit on 71 minutes, tapping in after Thibaut Courtois had kept out Luis Suarez’s initial effort, they rarely looked troubled.
Substitute Alvaro Odriozola restored Real’s two-goal advantage, slamming in from fellow substitute Eden Hazard’s pull-back after 75 minutes.
Less than 60 seconds later Karim Benzema made it four after Granada keeper Rui Silva came out but failed to deal with a ball over the top, allowing the Frenchman to fire into an empty net from distance.
“It’s not just about scoring goals. We played well in defence, too,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said.
“It was a really complete game. We didn’t get overrun at 2-1 and scored quickly after and that shows what character this side have.
“It was a great win against a tough opponent at a difficult place to come to. We are going to give our all in the two remaining games, until La Liga is finished.”
Real moved into second place on 78 points, two behind leaders Atletico Madrid with two games left to play. Barcelona are third, two points adrift of Real.
Real travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday while Atleti host Osasuna on the same day, with all matches kicking off simultaneously.
Should Real fail to beat Bilbao, Atletico will be champions if they overcome Osasuna.
(Reporting by Joseph Walker, editing by Ed Osmond)