Real close to Spanish title after scare

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 15 Jul 2020

Real Madrid need one victory to secure the La Liga title after they held off a second-half comeback from Granada to win 2-1 and move four points clear of Barcelona.

With two games left, Madrid will be crowned champions if they beat Villarreal at home on Friday (HK time) regardless of how Barca fare at Nou Camp against Osasuna.

But they were made to sweat by a Granada team gunning for Europe and who have arguably been the division's surprise of the season after being promoted from second tier last year.

Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema looked to have set Madrid on course for a comfortable win at Los Carmenes, but Granada were transformed after the break and a 50th-minute strike by Darwin Machis - the first Madrid have conceded in six games - gave them hope.

Nervous Madrid were clinging on by the end and needed Sergio Ramos to clear a shot off the line.

But Zinedine Zidane's side dug in for a ninth consecutive victory. And when the final whistle blew Zidane roared with relief.

"We can't relax," said Ramos. "We let our guard down a bit in the second half ... and maybe that's a warning for us. We have to make sure we don't repeat that mistake."

If Madrid slip up against Villarreal they will still have a second chance when they finish at Leganes on Sunday. Barcelona visit Alaves.

Earlier, Villarreal's hopes of Champions League football were hit when they lost 2-1 to Real Sociedad to confirm that fourth-placed Sevilla will join Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real in the competition next season.

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