Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of la liga to six points over Barcelona, who face Espanyol on Sunday, with a 5-1 victory over Granada who wilted after a strong first half showing.
The pressure is now on Barcelona who are still claiming the psychological advantage of having beaten Real a month ago in the first el clasico of the season in the league, but that was the only match in 21 games that Jose Mourinho’s side hasn’t won.
Mourinho promised there would be no repeat of the sloppy first half performance from Real in the King’s Cup against Malaga in mid-week where they had to come from behind to win 3-2, but it was still a lackadaisical first 45 minutes with the team lucky to go in 2-1 up at the break.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil combined to set up Karim Benzema to slot in the home side’s first but Granada replied from their first real attack with Mikel Rico completely unmarked, heading into the corner after 22 minutes.
With the Real defence dozing again, Granada could have gone ahead after they cut through the backline but Rico saw his shot saved well by keeper Iker Casillas. Instead Sergio Ramos headed Real back into the lead from a corner after 34 minutes. The game turned in the first few minutes after the break when Gonzalo Higuain and Benzema finished off Granada's hopes of a comeback and then with a minute to go Ronaldo hit the fifth.
Champions League chasing Levante drew a blank 0-0 against Mallorca but remain four points clear of fifth place as there was also a 0-0 stalemate between Real Sociedad and Osasuna.
Atletico Madrid showed more bite under new coach Diego Simeone as they drew 0-0 with sixth-placed Malaga.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the target of harsh criticism from the pro-Real Madrid sports media on Sunday after he reacted to whistling and grumbling from a section of the home fans at the Bernabeu by refusing to celebrate his goal.
There appears to be a perception among some fans that he can be selfish and he reacted to their complaints, which were also audible in last month’s 3-1 defeat to Barcelona, by declining to celebrate with his team and walking back to the Real half with his head bowed.