Soccer-Diaz and Rodrygo on target as Real see off Granada

Soccer Football - Spain - LaLiga - Real Madrid v Granada - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - December 2, 2023 Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz scores their first goal REUTERS/Isabel Infantes

MADRID (Reuters) -Real Madrid did enough to beat lowly Granada 2-0 in LaLiga on Saturday, a game that will not live long in the memory of an underwhelmed Santiago Bernabeu Stadium crowd on a chilly evening in the Spanish capital.

The win takes Real to the top of the LaLiga standings on 38 points, ahead of Girona, who beat Valencia 2-1 earlier on Saturday, on goal difference.

Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who meet on Sunday, are third and fourth on 31 points.

Granada, who are second from bottom on seven points with one win in 15 games, posed no threat to a Real who showed no sign of weakness despite missing several regular starters due to injuries.

The hosts dominated proceedings from the start and had 71% of ball possession, while Granada did not manage a single attempt on goal.

Real opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Brahim Diaz played a neat one-two with Toni Kroos, collecting the German's clever pass to beat the offside trap before gleefully firing in past goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.

With Real showing no urgency the match all but went to sleep until Diaz showed up again in the 57th minute to fight for a ball on the left side of the box, winning the challenge to cross for Jude Bellingham, whose point-blank strike was brilliantly denied by Fernandez.

However, Rodrygo was well-positioned at the far post to pounce on the goalkeeper's rebound and unleash a bullet strike to extend the locals' lead. The Brazilian has now scored in five consecutive games in all competitions racking up seven goals and four assists in that time.

"It was almost a perfect game. We dominated and they created few chances. If I remember correctly, they didn't shoot on goal. We were very focused and that's the work of the whole team," Diaz told DAZN.

"My goal was a true striker finish, I'm happy, but credit to Toni, who sees the pass that no one else sees. You only have to see him on the pitch, how he looks for a team-mate - it's spectacular. In training we see him, and today I'd better shine his boots."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, editing by Ed Osmond and Hugh Lawson)

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