Real Madrid vs. Granada: Final score 2-0, Los Blancos take over first place for now

Denis Doyle

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have Real Madrid on top of La Liga...at least until Barcelona and Atlético Madrid play tomorrow.

Real Madrid continued their excellent recent form and moved provisionally on top of La Liga with a 2-0 victory over Granada on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both scored in the second half to give Los Blancos their fifth straight league win.

After Gareth Bale was unceremoniously kicked in unmentionables, Ángel Di María's 11th minute free kick into the box from 40-yards out was directed centrally by Dani Carvajal and headed off the bar by Manuel Iturra. The fact that Iturra plays for Granada was potentially problematic as the midfielder's clearance attempt nearly turned into a spectacular own goal.

Granada came close on the correct goal in the 14th minute when Yacine Brahimi made a hard cut inside the area to create some space for himself. Unfortunately his shot was poor, soaring over the crossbar into the crowd.

Cristiano Ronaldo just missed giving Madrid a lead on an unbelievable bicycle kick effort right before the halftime break. The only thing better than Ronaldo's attempt was the save made by Granada goalkeeper Roberto who came flying across the goal to block the shot. Roberto recovered quickly and smothered Bale's attempt to score on the rebound as well.

Madrid continued to knock on the door in the second half and the opening goal arrived in the 57th minute. Ronaldo showed off his considerable footwork in traffic just inside the 18-yard box, bringing the ball to a dead stop with his left foot to freeze the defenders before quickly smashing a low shot past Roberto and inside the far post.

Ronaldo was denied a second goal in the 72nd minute after his deflected free kick smashed off the crossbar.

A minute later not even the crossbar could deny Madrid as Karim Benzema doubled their lead. Marcelo's cutting run into the box after a perfectly placed pass from Ronaldo created the chance, drawing two defenders to the left and leaving a pocket of space for Benzema. Marcelo found him with a short pass and Benzema simply directed the ball into the open net to make it 2-0.

Madrid moves two points clear of Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. Both teams play on Sunday and will need wins in their respective matches to move back in front of Los Blancos.

Real Madrid: López, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Modrić, Alonso, Di María (Illaramendi 83'), Bale (Jesé 46'), Ronaldo, Benzema (Isco 78')

Goals: Ronaldo (57'), Benzema (74')

Granada: Roberto, Nyom, Mainz, Murillo (Coeff 80'), Angulo, Brahimi, Fatau, Iturra, Recio (Pereira 71'), Piti (Buonanotte 80'), El-Arabi

Goals: None

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