Real Madrid cruise to victory over Granada and take over top spot
Cristiano Ronaldo scored after just 99 seconds as Real Madrid cruised to victory at Granada to rack up their 11th consecutive win in all competitions.
The insatiable Portuguese forward hit his 20th goal in 12 games to get Carlo Ancelotti’s side off to a dream start at the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium and half an hour later James Rodriguez scored a wonder goal, followed by a tap in in the second half, while Karim Benzema also got in on the scoring act.
This was yet another dominant performance from Los Blancos, who last week outplayed fierce rivals Barcelona and host a beleaguered Liverpool side on Tuesday.
Gareth Bale was again missing from the team as he is still recovering from a buttock injury so the in-form Isco retained his place, and Luka Modric passed a late fitness test to start.
The day before the game Granada coach Joaquin Caparros told Marca he at least hoped Madrid "do not walk all over us", but less than two minutes had gone when Ronaldo put the visitors in command.
An industrious Dani Carvajal won the ball back from Jeison Murillo on the right hand side of the area to play in Benzema, who rolled the ball across the box for Ronaldo to caress into the bottom corner first time.
Madrid dropped down a gear after getting off to the ideal start and allowed Granada to settle, but it was not long before they were back peppering the home goal. Rodriguez flashed a long shot over the bar and then tried to lob Roberto, and later Carvajal smashed over the bar after a stylish back flick from Ronaldo.
A second Madrid goal seemed inevitable and soon arrived due to a flash of brilliance from Rodriguez.
Carvajal aimed a throw in towards Benzema on the corner of the area and the Frenchman flicked the ball up towards the Colombian, who took everyone in the stadium by surprise by volleying straight into the top corner with one flick of his left boot.
Benzema had got the assist for both of Madrid’s goals and scored one for himself 10 minutes into the second half, latching onto a back-heel from Ronaldo to poke into the far corner.
Granada struggled to create many openings although Blackburn striker Ruben Rochina squandered two chances to get Granada back into the game in one instance, seeing a shot blocked and then volleying over the bar seconds later.
Madrid meanwhile were passing up chances left, right and centre. Marcelo rattled the bar with a powerful right-footed effort from outside the area and then substitute Alvaro Arbeloa failed to hit the target after another fine pass by Benzema.
But Granada could not escape without conceding again. Arbeloa got down the right hand side to play in Ronaldo but the Portuguese slid to the floor and could not get enough power on his shot, so James Rodriguez followed it up to help it over the line and score his second of the game.