BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid equalled a Spanish record of 39 games unbeaten in all competitions by crushing struggling Granada 5-0 on Saturday to go four points clear at the top of La Liga.
Antoine Griezmann scored his first league goal in more than three months as Atletico Madrid won 2-0 at Eibar, while Sevilla beat Real Sociedad 4-0 away thanks to a hat-trick from Wissam Ben Yedder.
Real lead with 40 points and Sevilla are second with 36, two more than Barcelona who visit Villarreal on Sunday. Atletico’s win took them fourth with 31.
Spain midfielder Isco set Real on their way to an easy victory by latching on to a pass from Karim Benzema and squeezing the ball underneath Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 12th minute.
Benzema tapped in the second goal in the 20th minute after Ochoa failed to hold a shot from the lively Luka Modric and top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo struck his 11th league goal of the season by nodding in a cross from Marcelo.
Isco turned in a low cross from Modric to stretch Real’s lead in the 31st minute and defensive midfielder Casemiro scored his first goal of the season by stabbing in a free kick from James Rodriguez in the 58th.
“It’s much easier when you start a game by scoring goals early on like we did today. Granada like to sit back so it was important to score when we did,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said.
“The fact they barely had a shot shows how seriously we took the game. You normally play worse in the second half after scoring three or four goals in the first but that didn’t happen today, we respected our opponents.”
Sevilla bounced back from their 3-0 King’s Cup defeat at Real Madrid by thrashing Real Sociedad thanks to a masterclass from Ben Yedder, who struck his first hat-trick in La Liga and provided an assist.
The French striker pounced when Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli spilled Franco Vazquez’s shot to open the scoring in the 25th minute and four minutes later got the second by latching onto a knockdown from Vazquez to round the helpless Rulli.
Ben Yedder, a summer signing from Toulouse, set up Pablo Sarabia for the third goal in the 73rd minute before completing his treble ten minutes later.
France international Griezmann ended his La Liga goal drought by netting Atletico’s second goal against Eibar, gliding forward and playing a pass with compatriot Kevin Gameiro before blasting into the net in the 74th minute.
Saul Niguez had broken the deadlock on a freezing cold pitch in the 54th minute by glancing in a Filipe Luis cross following a short corner routine.
Atletico withstood plenty of pressure from the home side after netting the first goal and sealed the points with Griezmann’s first league strike since he scored against Valencia on Oct. 2.
“It was a difficult game in a difficult ground, we gave everything. We struggled to get into the game at first but we were much better in the second half,” Griezmann said.
“We showed what people expect of Atleti, we were strong at the back and defended with 11 men and took advantage of the few chances we created.”
Editing by Ed Osmond, Clare Fallon and Brian Homewood