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MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid didn’t let Atlético Madrid pull away in the Spanish league, winning 4-1 at Granada on Thursday to stay within range of the leader entering the final two rounds.
Luka Modric and Rodrigo scored in the first half and Álvaro Odriozola and Karim Benzema added goals in the second to leave the defending champions two points behind Atlético, which won 2-1 at Real Sociedad on Wednesday to close in on its first league title since 2014.
Third-place Barcelona was still in contention despite falling four points off the lead after being held 3-3 at Levante on Tuesday after squandering 2-0 and 3-2 leads.
Modric opened the scoring for Madrid in the 17th minute with a shot that went through the goalkeeper’s leg after a nice lob pass by youngster Miguel Gutiérrez, and Rodrygo added to the lead with a low shot from inside the area in first-half injury time.
The hosts pulled one closer through Jorge Molina off the rebound of a Thibaut Courtois save in the 71st, but Madrid quickly added to the lead to seal the victory with goals by Odriozola in the 75th and Benzema in the 76th, the latter a long-range strike into the open net after Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva was caught away from his area.
Madrid got the win despite playing without several regular starting defenders. Coach Zinedine Zidane had to start the match with a few “B” team players, including Gutiérrez and Marvin. Toni Kroos stayed on the bench, while Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard came on during the second half.
Villarreal kept alive its hopes of securing a Europa League spot by winning 2-0 at Valladolid with second-half goals by Gerard Moreno and Etienne Capoue. The result left Valladolid inside the relegation zone. Villarreal was in seventh place.
Sixth-place Real Betis later drew 1-1 with at last-place Eibar.
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Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press