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Real Madrid ease past Granada to join Atletico at top of Liga

FOOTBALL By AFP | December 24th 2020
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, right, and Granada's Alberto Soro vie for the ball during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP )

Real Madrid moved level on points with Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga on Wednesday as Casemiro's header and Karim Benzema's eighth league goal of the season secured a 2-0 win against Granada.

Granada posed problems to Zinedine Zidane's team on several occasions but their lack of finishing cost them dear.

After a goalless first half, Real began to press their advantage and the introduction of Marco Asensio for the injured Rodrygo upped the tempo for the home side.

Real came close when Toni Kroos' shot rebounded off the post and goalkeeper Rui Silva before Benzema fired over.

Less than a minute later Real were ahead as Casemiro powerfully headed in Asensio's cross on 57 minutes.

Three minutes into injury time, Benzema dribbled across the area before firing home a low shot to wrap up the points.

"That makes it six wins in a row, but we had to work for them," Zidane said. "When things are complicated, I'll take the criticism but when it's like tonight, you have to enjoy it."

The Frenchman explained that although Eden Hazard, who has been sidelined since the end of November with a thigh injury, was among the substitutes, he had not wanted to risk the Belgian.

"Little by little he'll work his way back into the team," Zidane said.

Real, who visit Elche on December 30 for their final match of 2020, will be anxiously awaiting the results of tests on Rodrygo, who was stretchered off the pitch after clutching his hamstring.

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