Real Madrid remained on course for a first La Liga title in five years as their second string raced to a 4-0 drubbing of Granada on Saturday.
Four goals in the opening 35 minutes, courtesy of braces from James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata, fired Madrid back level with Barcelona at the top of the table as Granada slumped to their fifth straight defeat under Tony Adams.
With one eye on their Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid next week, Madrid started Fabio Coentrao at left-back and rested all of BBC as Lucas Vazquez, James and Marco Asensio supported Morata in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
With less than three minutes on the clock, Lucas’ cross was tapped in by James at Guillermo Ochoa’s far post!
Coentrao then bagged himself an assist on his return as he whipped a cross into Granada’s penalty area for James, whose bullet header flew past Ochoa.
Adams made a change after just 17 minutes as tricky winger Aly Malle was replaced by tough-tackling midfielder Uche Agbo, who will join Watford in the summer.
Adrian Ramos summed up Granada’s season as he should’ve been away in the clear down the left but lacked the confidence to run on for a goal back.
Morata, on the other hand, found the roof of Ochoa’s net, before jinking past Chelsea-owned Victorien Angban and curling home from the left.
Such was the ease of Madrid’s lead that Casemiro could afford to miss an open goal, the unmarked Brazilian knocking his half-volley too high in the box.
Granada managed to shut Madrid out in the second half, although they did ride their luck. A rebound dropped straight to Danilo in the Andalusians area, but his daisy-cutter skimmed a defender and clipped Kiko Casilla’s near post.
Two more Madrid chances saw Sergio Ramos power a header from a corner straight at Ochoa, before Lucas slammed a low shot on target, which the goalkeeper tipped wide.
Karim Benzema entered the fray for the final half-hour, and his pinpoint low cross was backheeled to James, but the Colombian scuffed his shot from close range.
Adrian Ramos only had Casilla to beat, but he again took too long to get his feet in order and Martin Hongla ended up blasting over the striker’s layoff, with an empty goal in front of him.
Granada 0-4 Real Madrid
James 3, 11, Morata 30, 35
Granada: Ochoa; Foulquier, Hongla, Ingason, Gaston; Angban, Krhin (Lomban 46); Cuenca, Pereira (Entrena 81), Malle (Agbo 18); Adrian Ramos
Real Madrid: Casilla; Danilo, Nacho, Sergio Ramos, Coentrao; Kovacic, Casemiro (Isco 69); Lucas Vazquez (Mariano 77), James, Asensio (Benzema 59); Morata
Referee: Iglesias Villanueva