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Real routs Granada to extend lead in La Liga

Real Madrid placed some additional pressure 1, at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Barcelona now trails Real by six points, as Madrid continues to set the pace in the Spanish top flight with 43 points on the season. Granada, meanwhile, sits four points above the relegation zone with 19 points on the season.

Saturday's win for Real was an emphatic one, as Karim Benzema bagged a brace while Sergio Ramos, Gonzalo Higuain, and Cristiano Ronaldo also contributed with one goal apiece. Mikel Rico provided the only goal for Granada.

Benzema's opener came on the end of some impressive build-up play in the 19th minute.

Sami Khedira started the move with a pass to Ronaldo on the left wing and a darting run into the box. Ronaldo chipped the ball in Khedira's direction and the German midfielder flicked it on to Benzema in front of goal. The French striker made the most of the chance, one-timing his effort into the back of the net.

Granada responded quickly, as a close-range cross three minutes later found an unmarked Rico. The 27-year-old snapped a header off the post and into the net, beating Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas at his far post.

Real Madrid made sure that it retained the lead before halftime, going back in front with a header of its own as Ramos nodded a corner kick just inside the post in the 34th minute.

The home side was all business when it emerged from the tunnel at the start of the second period, scoring twice inside the opening five minutes.

Marcelo set up Madrid's third goal, dancing into the box before slipping a pass to Higuain. The Argentine striker let the ball run across his body and then fired a shot that went past goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez on a deflection.

Benzema then grabbed his second goal of the game in the 50th minute, collecting a smashing long ball from Mesut Ozil and guiding a shot to the far post to beat Fernandez.

Ronaldo tacked on a fifth goal for Real Madrid in the 89th minute to complete the rout and extend his lead at the top of the La Liga scoring chart.

Racing 1, Real Zaragoza 0

Santander, Spain - Bernardo struck just before halftime to score the lone goal in Racing's 1-0 defeat of last-place Real Zaragoza at the Estadio El Sardinero on Saturday.

Real Zaragoza has now lost nine of its last 10 league games and has managed just 10 points from its first 17 games in La Liga.

Racing, meanwhile, has pieced together a four-game unbeaten streak, taking eight points over that stretch. The Santander outfit sits two points above the relegation zone on 17 points.

Malaga 0, Atletico Madrid 0

Malaga, Spain - Malaga moved into sixth place in La Liga after claiming a point in a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid at the Estadio La Rosaleda on Saturday.

The draw sees Malaga bounce back after falling to Valencia ahead of the winter break. With 25 points on the season, Malaga jumps one point in front of Sevilla, although Sevilla returns to action on Sunday as it faces Rayo Vallecano.

Atletico Madrid snaps a two-game losing skid in league play, improving to 20 points on the year and retaining its position in the middle of the table.

Levante 0, Mallorca 0

Valencia, Spain - Levante was held scoreless at home Saturday, playing to a 0-0 draw with Mallorca at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Despite only claiming a point, Levante continues its impressive season as it remains in fourth place in La Liga with 30 points on the season.

Mallorca bounces back after falling to Getafe, 2-1, in its last league outing before the start of the holiday break. Mallorca has totaled 19 points through 17 games.

Real Sociedad 0, Osasuna 0

San Sebastian, Spain - Osasuna played to a 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad at Anoeta on Saturday, missing out on the chance to close the gap on fourth-place Levante.

The visitors could have moved to within two points of Levante after it also played to a scoreless draw on Saturday, but instead Osasuna remains in fifth place on 26 points, four points behind the Valencia club.

Real Sociedad has now drawn three straight, improving to 18 points on the season.