Thibaut Courtois emerged as the hero with some excellent saves as Real Madrid edged Granada out with a narrow 2-1 victory on Monday.

Real Madrid extended their winning run to nine games in La Liga, securing a very narrow 2-1 win over Granada on Monday.

The Spanish league leaders looked like the better side throughout the first phase of the game, dominating possession and playing attractive football. They were deservedly rewarded for their efforts within ten minutes, although, the opener from Ferland Mendy came rather unexpectedly.

Soon after, Real Madrid doubled their lead through Karim Benzema as the first-half ended with a 2-0 lead for the away side. After the restart, however, Granada looked extremely threatening and were boosted by a 50th-minute goal from Darwin Machis.

Los Blancos somehow managed to retain their slender advantage, as they moved closer towards securing the league title. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Real Madrid players in their win over Granada.

Thibaut Courtois: 8/10

Real Madrid would have easily conceded the second goal from Granada had it not been for Thibaut Courtois’ heroics in between the sticks. The Belgian started his performance with a smart stop from Dominic Duarte’s header in the first half and went on to make a couple of more crucial saves after the restart. Another influential display from the ex-Atletico Madrid ‘keeper.

Dani Carvajal: 6.5/10

Returning to the starting lineup, at the expense of Lucas Vazquez, Dani Carvajal’s forays down the flank were crucial in providing the width in the Real Madrid attack. He also covered a lot of ground, which was essential as Real Madrid started with no designated wingers on the right-hand side. However, the Spaniard should have done a little better defensively.

Sergio Ramos: 7.5/10

Sergio Ramos’ important goal-line clearance to deny Ramon Azeez in the second half saved Real Madrid’s blushes. Aside from that clearance, his experience at the back was crucial in keeping Granada out, though he did struggle in coping with Machis, at times.

Raphael Varane: 6/10

Raphael Varane was one of Real Madrid’s finest performers in the first-half, often winning his aerial duels and providing solidity at the back. However, the Frenchman was, at times, overwhelmed in the second half and should have done a little better in preventing Machis to score Granada’s only goal.

Ferland Mendy: 7.5/10

Mendy’s powerful finish from an almost impossible angle not only broke the deadlock but also paved the way for Real Madrid to dominate the proceedings. Aside from his goal, the Frenchman looked proactive in his offensive and defensive duties throughout the evening.

Federico Valverde: 6/10

Starting in midfield, alongside Casemiro and Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde offered solidity in Real Madrid’s second line of press. He was also fluid and accurate with his passing, although his influence did wane as the game progressed. He was hooked off around the hour-mark.

Casemiro: 5/10

Casemiro was culpable for the Granada goal as he lost possession in the middle of the park. The Brazilian did, however, make up for his mistake, to an extent, with some commendable clearances and interceptions.

Toni Kroos: 6.5/10

Toni Kroos’ composure and positional awareness were key in helping Real Madrid dominate the proceedings in the first half. The German international effortlessly rotated possession and virtually camped himself in the Granada half. But, his influence did fade in the second half as the opposition pushed forward.

Luka Modric: 8.5/10

Luke Modric was by far the most influential outfield player on the pitch. Starting in a more attacking role, the Croatian pulled the strings with some mesmerising passes in the final third. He notably set up Benzema for the second goal and was deeply involved in Real Madrid’s chance creation throughout the course of the game.

Modric also deserves praise for playing the whole ninety minutes, distributing possession even when he looked incredibly fatigued.

Isco: 6.5/10

Isco was extremely influential during the first half of the game, linking up well with the likes of Modric, Kroos and Benzema. The Spaniard also attempted a couple of shots on goal and created a few opportunities for his team. However, a changed formation in the second half minimised his influence on the pitch.

Karim Benzema: 7.5/10

Benzema continued his excellent run of form, scoring yet another important goal which made it difficult for Granada to fight back into the game. His finishing for the second goal was top class while his work-ethic, combination play and energy were excellent as ever.

On the scoresheet again (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

On the scoresheet again (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Substitutes

Marco Asensio: 6/10

Replaced Valverde in the 64th minute to provide more creative essence into the team. But, the Spaniard failed to make any real difference to the game as Granada continued to push forward in search of the equaliser.

Rodrygo: 6.5/10

Replaced Isco just after the hour-mark and looked much more threatening than the Spaniard. Indeed, the winger was a menace on the left flank, making life difficult for the Granada attackers. Couldn’t make a telling impact, however.

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