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Granada 1-0 Real Madrid: Granada pulls off shocker over Real MadridPosted by TomConn on February 2nd, 2013 11:13 PM | News, Primera Liga
Granada may have pulled off one of the greatest upsets in club history, as the relegation battling Andalusians put on an epic defensive performance to beat Real Madrid for the first time since 1972.
The Granada faithful were buzzing following a very active January transfer window, and were hopeful that all of their new signings and new coach would amount to at least a draw. However, no one could have expected Granada to actually come away with three points over the reigning La Liga champions.
A great atmosphere at Nuevo Los Cármenes greeted the reigning champions, but the form of Real Madrid away from home this season, especially in Andalucía, meant that the game had all the potential to be a banana skin.
Both sides began lively enough, though to the surprise of many, it seemed like Granada were the ones posing the most risk from what is normally a trademark of Real Madrid, the swift counter-attacks.
Real Madrid were seeing more time in the Granada half as the match headed into the twenty minute mark, but neither they or Granada had been able to trouble the goalkeepers at either end, when they entered the final third. Following a spell of such fruitless pressure from Real Madrid, Granada managed a quick break of their own, which won them a corner.
In the 22nd minute, making his début, Nolito swing in the corner, up rose Ronaldo to head clear, but only managed to head into his own net! 1-0 to Granada and the home fans went berserk.
Real Madrid pressured more and in the following minutes, Di María whipped in a dangerous cross/shot, that went just wide of Toño’s goal, then Ronaldo curled a free-kick from range, which also went just wide of the post.
Granada were soaking up the pressure defensively, playing a much tighter 4-4-2 formation that was holding its shape. As the half wore on, there wasn’t much room to manoeuvre in the middle, as Granada players either closed down quickly, or pressured their opponents into giving the ball away. Countering better than their more illustrious rivals and forging dangerous openings against the advanced Real Madrid defence, Granada lacked the cutting edge in the final third to make the most of the breaks.
Clearly unimpressed, Mourinho shuffled his pack at the start of the second-half. A double substitution saw Khedira and Higuaín replaced by Callejón and Benzema.
Real Madrid began to dominate possession, passing more assuredly in the middle than they had in the previous half, as the Granada were forced even more into their own half, as the minutes passed. Remaining resolute, the Granada defence managed to stand firm, whilst Toño looked comfortably able to deal with any crosses and shots that came his way.
Whilst Real Madrid were increasing the pressure, they were also getting increasingly frustrated. Buonanotte came on to the cheers of the Granada fans for his début in the 74th and immediately showed glimpses of the quality they hope he’ll bring.
Continued pressure from Real Madrid in the Granada half, but as their defence pushed further forward, they left themselves open to counters from Granada, which they couldn’t make the most of when they came. In the 84th minute, it looked like history would repeat itself, when an error from the Granada defence allowed Benzema to slip through, but he horribly fluffed a chance, that looked easier to score. Compared to the match last season, Granada were holding firm.
With moments to go, Juanma Ortiz replaced Torje and Granada stubbornly continued to defend their narrow lead, as Real Madrid threw everything forward in a desperate attempt to tie the game. Ultimately they couldn’t find any holes to exploit and Granada managed to hold out for a priceless victory.
For neutrals watching the game, it might not have been the most memorable of matches. For the Granada fans however, it meant everything. The “matagigantes” (giant killers) spirit of the 1970′s had returned and the roars of delight as the final whistle blew, gave today’s generation of young fans something to cherish, that only their grandparents had done so before.
The last time Granada beat Real Madrid? Sunday 16th April, 1972.
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