La Liga review

Benzema leads Real rout

January 7, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of the Primera Division to six points with a comfortable 5-1 win over Granada.

Karim Benzema
GettyImagesKarim Benzema netted the opener

Real looked in for a testing evening when Mikel Rico (22) cancelled out Karim Benzema's 19th-minute opener to reward the visitors for an encouraging performance.

But Sergio Ramos headed Jose Mourinho's side back in front on 34 minutes and the game was over as a contest when Gonzalo Higuain and Benzema scored within five minutes of the start of the second period.

Cristiano Ronaldo then added further gloss to the scoreline with the fifth goal two minutes from time.

Manolo Jimenez made a losing start to his tenure as Real Zaragoza coach as Racing Santander inflicted a narrow 1-0 defeat on the strugglers.

Jimenez took over a side rock bottom of the table after the departure from the hotseat of Javier Aguirre, four points behind 19th-placed Racing and five adrift of safety.

Yet it was Racing who gave themselves a shot in the arm at El Sardinero as Bernardo Espinosa's header in first-half injury-time proved enough to earn a welcome victory.

Real Sociedad and Osasuna stretched their unbeaten league runs to six games with a 0-0 draw but it was the visitors who were happier as the hosts dominated almost the entire match.

Goalkeeper Andres Fernandes was the Osasuna's main man as he made a string of fine saves, the best coming just three minutes from time as he pushed away Diego Ifran's well-struck volley.

Carlos Vela had earlier hit the bar as Sociedad were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal and the Basque side could even have lost the game as Nino went just wide with Osasuna's best effort towards the end.

An inspired performance from goalkeeper Gustavo Munua secured a point for Levante in a disappointing 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca.

Both sides appeared a little rusty after the two-week Christmas break during a tepid first half, but it was Munua who came to the fore in the second to as he saved from Pablo Cendros, Victor and Jose Luis Marti.

Levante failed to create the same number of openings but were also slightly unfortunate as Arouna Kone's goal was ruled out for a very marginal offside decision.

In the day's late game, troubled Atletico Madrid held Malaga to a 0-0 draw and stopped them from going fifth.

Atletico had lost six of their opening seven matches on their travels this term, contributing to a hugely disappointing start to the campaign that led to Gregorio Manzano being dismissed as coach just before Christmas.

Former midfielder Diego Simeone was named as Manzano's replacement and his first match in the hotseat saw Atletico claim a hard-fought draw.