Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates after scoring a goal against Granada with teammates Karim Benzema (L) and Sami Khedira during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid September 2, 2012.
(Photo : REUTERS/Paul Hanna)
Cristiano Ronaldo's brace and Gonzalo Higuain's third goal of the season lifted Real Madrid 3-0 over Granada for its first win of the season.
Last year's La Liga champions got off to a disappointing start to the season with a 1-1 draw to Valencia two weeks ago and a stunning 2-1 loss at the hands of lowly Getafe last weekend. In between those they lost the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona before responding with a 2-1 win on Thursday. That win made them the champions of the Super Cup and may have turned around their season.
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Real Madrid's match against Granada showed a more inspired Merengues squad that started with a lineup that saw star distributor Mesut Ozil replaced by newly signed Luka Modric. Angel Di Maria was also subbed out in favor of Jose Callejon and even the consistent Higuain benched in favor of Karim Benzema.
The new lineup did not gel in the early stages, but Ronaldo's goal in the 26th minute seemed to wake them up. After that, the squad continued to produce chances, but only had a one goal lead heading into the half.
Eight minutes after the half, Ronaldo doubled the lead with his second goal of the season from a rebound off his initial attempt. Ronaldo's night would end just under 10 minutes later when a hard tackle from Borja Gomez caused his knee some discomfort.
But the switch did not demoralize Real Madrid who added to their lead on a tic-tac-toe play between Ozil, Benzema, and Higuain. Higuain now has three goals on the season.
The two squads get to take a holiday for the international break but resume break in two weeks when Real Madrid takes on Sevilla FC and Granada encounters Deportivo La Coruna.