Sunday 8/9/20

Real Madrid just two points from La Liga title

Barcelona must hope Madrid slip-up and ensure they beat Osasuna.
Marco Asensio celebrates scoring his second goal with teammate Karim Benzema in match against Alaves. Photo: Enrique de la Fuente/dpa.
Marco Asensio celebrates scoring his second goal with teammate Karim Benzema in match against Alaves. Photo: Enrique de la Fuente/dpa.

Real Madrid can win the Spanish league on Thursday when they face Villarreal at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in the penultimate round of matches in Spain.

They have a four-point advantage over second-placed Barcelona and two draws in their last two games will also be enough to see them crowned.

“There are still two games to go and we have to keep going until the end,” said Zinedine Zidane. “We have a difficult rival on Thursday.

The Madrid coach was delighted by a hard-fought 2-1 win over Granada on Monday, saying: “The last minutes were nervous but that’s normal."

"You have to fight when you go away from home. We were very good in the first half.

“We were not happy to concede the goal but this is nine straight games winning. What more can we ask for from these players?”

The goal Granada scored was the first Thibaut Courtois had conceded in 506 minutes of football but it was not enough to stop Madrid’s onward march.

“Our first half was very good,” said Courtois. “I had to make a couple of saves in the second period but that is to be expected.”

Of his long run without conceding, he added: “The satisfaction is huge on a personal and group level. Keeping so many clean sheets has been important but everyone has contributed.”

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema reacts after an injury during Spanish Primera Division soccer match between Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium. Photo: Enrique de la Fuente/gtres/dpa

Benzema reacts after an injury during the match. Photo: Enrique de la Fuente/dpa.

Karim Benzema goes into Thursday’s game looking for his 20th goal of the season after getting the second goal against Granada, following Ferland Mendy's opener.

“It was a very nice goal,” said Zidane. “We came out of our half and in three passes we were in their area and it’s a great goal scored by Ferland.”

Mendy was the 21st different player to score for Real this season.

Barcelona

Barcelona must hope Madrid slip-up and ensure they beat Osasuna.

Quique Setien will be without Antoine Griezmann who has a thigh strain and is out for the remaining two games.

Setien admitted his players were tired after they struggled to beat Valladolid 1-0 at the weekend.

Asked if Lionel Messi also needed to rest he replied: “For sure. If they winning margin had been clearer [against Valladolid] I would have taken more players off.”

Champions League

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla have assured Champions League football next season alongside the top two but the Europa League places are still up for grabs.

Athletic Bilbao and Valencia are immediately below the top seven and will hope to take advantage of any slip from sixth and seventh-placed Getafe and Real Sociedad.

Getafe host Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad are home to Sevilla.

Athletic face second-from bottom Leganes, and Valencia host relegated Espanyol. The relegation battle is also far from over.

If Leganes beat Athletic, or if Mallorca can win at home to Granada, then they could still move to within one point of Alaves who currently occupy the first position of safety and are away at Real Betis on Thursday.

If either Mallorca or Leganes can move within a point of Alaves then the last weekend of the season will be a nervous one because Alaves have to play Barcelona.

Elsewhere in the penultimate round of games Celta Vigo are home to Levante, and Eibar host Valladolid.

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