Real Madrid 4-2 Granada: Hazard scores first goal as Zidane’s men hold on

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Real Madrid held-on to beat Granada 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash in LaLiga.

Eden Hazard scored and assisted his first goals for Real Madrid as the LaLiga leaders held on to beat stubborn second-placed opponents Granada 4-2 to extend their lead at the summit.

The Belgium international lifted the ball over Rui Silva to get off the mark in his sixth match for the club, doubling the hosts’ tally after Karim Benzema’s early opener in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Substitute Luka Modric added another from the range for Madrid but surprise package Granada pulled one back from the spot after Alphonse Areola gave away a penalty, then Domingos Duarte set up a tense finale with his close-range finish.

But Zinedine Zidane’s men saw out their first win in three matches, James Rodriguez striking in added time, to move four points clear of Granada and city rivals Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand to play.

Madrid has now won their last nine league meetings with Granada, scoring 31 goals in total, and it took them 102 seconds to find the breakthrough in this latest encounter.

Gareth Bale picked out Benzema with an outside-of-the-boot pass and the France international made no mistake with his first-time finish from seven yards.

Granada goalkeeper Silva was equal to attempts from Dani Carvajal and Federico Valverde, but he was unable to keep out Hazard’s delightful effort at the end of the opening period.

Modric, brought on as a first-half substitute for the injured Toni Kroos, scored the goal of the match with an arrowed drive into the top-left corner just after the hour mark, only for Machis to pull one back after Areola brought down Carlos Fernandez in the box.

Duarte then turned in a flick-on from close range, but Madrid killed off any hopes of a memorable Granada comeback when James swept a side-footed finish into the bottom-right corner at the end of a counter-attack.

What does it mean? Madrid tighten hold on the top spot

They may be top of LaLiga, but more questions were asked of Madrid after they fell two goals behind to Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Zidane’s men fought back to draw 2-2 in that one, though, and they did enough to hold off Granada – the best of the rest so far in the Spanish top flight – to strengthen their grip on the top spot.

Hazard up and running

Zidane has defended Hazard following his run of matches without scoring or assisting, but the Belgium international was in full flow on Saturday.

He scored a fine goal late in the first half and set up Modric for Madrid’s third goal, suggesting he is slowly starting to adapt to his new surroundings.

Areola caught out

Areola, filling in for the absent Thibaut Courtois to make his third Madrid appearance, got caught in possession by Fernandez and took out the Granada forward when attempting to recover.

That error gave the visitors a route back into the match and Madrid was very nearly made to pay.

What’s next?

Both sides have a two-week break before their next outings. Granada host Osasuna on October 18, a day before Real Madrid’s trip to Real Mallorca.