Football

Euro Leagues | Real keeps pace with Atletico Madrid

On a roll: A towering header from Casemiro and an added-time strike from Karim Benzema saw Real Madrid beat Granada.  

A towering header from Casemiro and an added-time strike from Karim Benzema saw Real Madrid beat a stubborn Granada side 2-0 at home on Wednesday to notch a fifth consecutive LaLiga victory and go level on points with leader Atletico Madrid.

The champion lacked sparkle in the first half but came alive in the second period and after a flurry of chances from the home side, Brazilian midfielder Casemiro powered in a cross from Marco Asensio to give it the lead in the 57th minute.

Real had been lucky to not fall behind in the first minute when Raphael Varane gave away possession and Roberto Soldado found Antonio Puertas, who sent his shot way over the bar.

Granada continued to trouble Zinedine Zidane's side deep into the second half until Benzema raced clear and thumped the ball low into the net to seal the points.

Meanwhile, A.S. Roma bounced back from Sunday's mauling at Atalanta to beat Cagliari in a 3-2 thriller and move back up to third in Serie A.

Jordan Veretout volleyed Roma in front in the 11th minute, despite not making proper contact with Rick Karsdorp's cross, and Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno kept the score down with several outstanding saves before halftime.

Having survived the onslaught, the Sardinians levelled in the 59th minute when Joao Pedro took advantage after Roma lost possession.

The host replied with two goals in six minutes from Edin Dzeko and Gianluca Mancini and Joao Pedro pulled one back from a penalty in stoppage time.

Roma, beaten 4-1 at Atalanta on Sunday after a second-half performance which left coach Paulo Fonseca fuming, has 27 points, seven behind leader A.C. Milan.

Sassuolo is one point behind in fourth after also winning by the odd goal in five, away to Sampdoria.

Atalanta, seventh with 22 points, lost ground after it squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Bologna.

The results: LaLiga: Getafe 1 (Suarez 7) drew with Celta Vigo 1 (Aspas 17-pen); Real Madrid 2 (Casemiro 57, Benzema 90+3) bt Granada 0; Real Betis 1 (Rodriguez 71) bt Cadiz 0; Alaves 2 (Mendez 41, Deyverson 45+2) bt Eibar 1 (Leon 4).

Serie A: Hellas Verona 1 (Ilic 63) lost to Inter Milan 2 (Martinez 52, Skriniar 69); Udinese 0 lost to Benevento 2 (Caprari 9, Letizia 77); Roma 3 (Veretout 11, Dzeko 71, Mancini 77) bt Cagliari 2 (João Pedro 59, 90+1-pen); AC Milan 3 (Rebic 10, Calhanoglu 17-pen, Hernandez 90+2) bt Lazio 2 (Alberto 27, Immobile 59); Spezia 1 (Nzola 10) lost to Genoa 2 (Destro 16, Criscito 73-pen); Bologna 2 (Tomiyasu 73, Paz 82) drew with Atalanta 2 (Muriel 22-pen, 23); Sampdoria 2 (Quagliarella 55, Balde 84) lost to Sassuolo 3 (Traore 2, Caputo 56, Berardi 58); Napoli 1 (Insigne 90+2) drew with Torino 1 (Izzo 56).

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