Football: Benzema header gives Real victory over Granada

Benzema (right) heads the ball to score a goal past Granada's goalkeeper Andres Fernandez.
Benzema (right) heads the ball to score a goal past Granada's goalkeeper Andres Fernandez.REUTERS

BARCELONA (REUTERS) - A second-half Karim Benzema header gave a below-par Real Madrid a 1-0 La Liga victory over Granada, who squandered several good chances on Saturday.

The Frenchman, who appeared marginally offside, nodded home an Isco cross after 55 minutes against a well organised Granada side that attacked with pace.

Cristiano Ronaldo had eight goals from his previous two games but he and his team mates struggled to beat keeper Andres Fernandez.

Granada will feel they deserved more, but poor finishing especially from Isaac Success cost them dearly and they had a Youssef El-Arabi goal wrongly ruled offside.

“Referees make mistakes, we make mistakes Everyone can make errors,” Real Madrid full back Marcelo told reporters. “It was a strange game. We had chances but they did also and in the end we were able to get the goal that helped us a lot and these are three important points.”

Real have 10 points from four games and are a point ahead of champions Barcelona, who have won their opening three matches and face Levante at home on Sunday.

Later on Saturday, Valencia take on Real Betis and Atletico Madrid are away to Eibar.

Real were missing the injured Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez and it was Lucas Vazquez who was picked on the right wing while defensively they were also without centre half Sergio Ramos.

Real suffered an early scare with Cristiano Biraghi bursting down the left wing and his cross was cleared in front of goal by Marcelo.

It was an indication of the problems that Real were to have at the back with Success having a drive well saved by Keylor Navas, as well as the goal chalked off for El-Arabi.

At the other end Ronaldo and Luka Modric, in particular, had efforts saved by Fernandez and it was a similar story after the break.

Success blasted wide with the best chance when in front of goal after 51 minutes and shortly after Granada were made to pay for their profligacy with Benzema’s header.