Real Madrid on brink of Spanish title

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos hugs teammate Luka Modric as Raphael Varane looks on after their 2-1 win.
Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos hugs teammate Luka Modric as Raphael Varane looks on after their 2-1 win.

Real Madrid are just two points away from securing a record 34th Spanish League title after beating Granada 2-1 on Monday.

Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema scored first-half goals to give Madrid their ninth straight win and keep Zinedine Zidane's team four points ahead of second-placed Barcelona with two rounds to go.

Madrid, who have won every match since the league resumed after the pandemic break, can clinch their first title since 2017 on Thursday with a win at Villarreal, or if Barcelona lose points when they host Osasuna.

Two draws in the final two rounds will also be enough to secure Madrid the 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.

Mid-table Granada got on the board with a 50th minute goal by Darwin Machis which sparked them.

The hosts came closest to finding the equaliser with five minutes left, when Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a difficult save.

Defender Sergio Ramos then cleared a shot on the goalline to secure the points.

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

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 Atletico 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 quarter-finals.

This season they will meet Roma in the round of 16 in the Europa League.

Villarreal, however, remain in a good position to grab a Europa League spot.

Sociedad also stayed in contention for the Europa League with their third win since the break, moving to seventh.

Willian Jose scored in the 61st minute and Diego Llorente in the 75th, while the hosts pulled closer through Santi Cazorla in the 85th.

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

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

Australian Associated Press