Casemiro and Karim Benzema struck as Real Madrid moved level with rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga with a 2-0 win over Granada.
Casemiro netted just before the hour as the champions finally took charge of a drab encounter at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium – the arena at the club’s training complex – with Benzema adding the second in injury time.
Benzema’s strike was his 13th in 15 games against the Andalusian outfit and ensured Real joined Atletico on 32 points, although Zinedine Zidane’s men have played two games more.
Granada should have taken the lead inside the first minute after a mistake from Raphael Varane allowed Roberto Soldado to play in Antonio Puertas but he wastefully fired high and wide.
In a lively start, Sergio Ramos headed over for the hosts and Rodrygo shot at Rui Silva before Granada’s Kenedy also missed the target.
Toni Kroos, making his 200th LaLiga appearance for Real, went close with a powerfully-struck effort but most of the first half was played at a slow tempo.
Real suffered a blow before the break when Rodrygo was forced off with a hamstring injury but his replacement, Marco Asensio, sparked the hosts into life the second half.
Asensio hit the post after 55 minutes before Kroos and Federico Valverde tested Silva and Benzema shot over.
💥👊🤯 A brilliant @marcoasensio10 assist finds @Casemiro in the box, who finshes it off with a CABEZAZO!#HalaMadrid | #RealMadridGranadapic.twitter.com/wtzQrXlXkv— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) December 23, 2020
The breakthrough came in the 57th minute as Asensio whipped in a cross from the left and Casemiro rose to head home from six yards.
Granada responded positively but Thibaut Courtois saved from Puertas.
Real threatened again after the hour but Silva dealt with a Varane header comfortably before Lucas Vazquez shot over.
Granada appealed for a penalty on 77 minutes after a Yangel Herrera shot hit Casemiro but, following a VAR check, nothing was given.
Herrera had another chance late on but headed wide and Granada were made to rue that miss as Benzema grabbed a second for Real after a quick break in stoppage time.
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