La Liga: Real Madrid restore three-way tie at the top with win
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Karim Benzema and Jese Rodriguez scored early to help Real Madrid ease to a 3-0 win at Getafe and restore a three-way tie for first place in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Madrid's win matched Barcelona and Atletico Madrid's victories on Saturday to keep the trio level after 24 rounds, and well ahead of nearest chaser Athletic Bilbao.
With leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo serving the second of a three-game suspension, the 20-year-old Jese scored for a third straight round to get Madrid going in the fifth minute at Alfonso Perez Stadium.
Benzema made it 2-0 from Angel Di Maria's pass in the 27th, and midfielder Luka Modric added another goal from long range in the 66th.
Also on Sunday, Granada ended a three-game losing streak by beating Real Betis 1-0, leaving the league's bottom dweller 10 points from safety.
Getafe, which never threatened, remained winless in nine straight rounds and four points from the relegation zone.
While Getafe hasn't won in the league since November, Madrid hasn't lost in 14 rounds going back to October.
Madrid again proved that even without the reigning Ballon d'Or winner in Ronaldo, it has more than enough talent in its star-studded squad to keep winning against the Liga's middling teams.
Behind Ronaldo's league-leading tally of 22 goals, Benzema has scored 14 times in the league for Madrid this season, while Jese has managed five goals in what is becoming a breakthrough season for the young forward.
Jese took Ronaldo's spot on the left side of the attack and used his pace to take Gareth Bale's pass, move the ball to his right foot, and flick a shot just inside the far post.
Benzema then doubled the lead when he chested down Di Maria's lobbed pass on the break before driving it under goalkeeper Miguel Moya.
Modric finished Getafe off by sending a long shot off the turf and past the diving Moya.
Granada forward Francisco ''Piti'' Medina scored what proved to be the winner at Los Carmenes Stadium in the 31st minute when he controlled a long pass and slotted inside the post.
Both teams finished with 10 men after Granada substitute Dani Benitez got a straight red card for a bad foul on Jose ''Nono'' Delgado in the 79th, and Betis' Antonio Amaya received his second booking in injury time.
Granada moved six points clear of the relegation zone.
Betis is winless in 12 away league matches this season. It has one win and three losses under coach Gabriel Calderon, its third manager of the season.
''The team knew it was a very important day, but we couldn't get the win,'' Betis striker Ruben Castro said. ''We haven't thrown in the towel yet. We will keep trying, above all at home to try and give our fans something to cheer about.''
Later, Valencia visits Sevilla in a meeting of two teams hoping to climb the standings, while Bilbao hosts Espanyol.
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