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Sociedad beats Granada team depleted by coronavirus cases

Real Sociedad kept its lead in the Spanish league with a 2-0 win against a virus-depleted Granada team which was filled with youth-squad players.

Granada finished Sunday's match without the minimum of five registered first-team players set out in the regulations and could be punished for using an illegal lineup.

It entered the match with seven first-team players available after 10 positive COVID-19 results were detected within the club in the last 10 days. Several players and coaches in close contact with those infected also could not participate.

Granada's goalkeeping coach, Juan Carlos Fernández, was in charge for the match in the Basque Country city of San Sebastián as manager Diego Martínez and an assistant could not be present.

Only four first-team players were on the field when Jorge Molina was substituted in the 77th minute, which could lead to the equivalent of a 3-0 loss for Granada.

Granada tried to postpone the game but had its request denied because it had enough players available to play. The team from southern Spain has also been competing in the Europa League.

The Spanish league said it opened an investigation into Granada for allegedly failing to follow health safety protocols during the pandemic.

Nacho Monreal put Sociedad ahead from close range in the 22nd, and Mikel Oyarzabal added the second by converting a penalty kick in the 27th after a handball inside the area.

“It was a good game,” Monreal said. “Our dynamic has been good. We have been playing well. And it was the same again today. We are happy with the performance of the team and with the victory.”

Willian José missed a chance to score the third when his 54th-minute penalty kick was saved by youth-squad Granada goalkeeper Ángel Jiménez, an 18-year-old player.

Granada's Darwin Machís took a stoppage-time penalty prompted by David Silva's high kick. Sociedad goalkeeper Álex Remiro saved Machís' attempt.

It was the fifth straight league win for Sociedad, which played the final minutes a man down after a red card for Robin Le Normand for halting a counterattack with a foul.

The victory left Sociedad with 20 points. That's two more than Unai Emery's Villarreal, which earlier on Sunday won 3-1 at Getafe with Paco Alcácer, Manu Trigueros and Gerard Moreno providing the goals.

Mauro Arambarri scored for Getafe.

Atlético Madrid was third in the standings, three points off the lead, after routing Cádiz 4-0 at home on Saturday. Atlético has two games in hand.

Real Madrid can move to second place, within a point of Sociedad, with a win at struggling Valencia in the late match on Sunday.

Barcelona moved to eighth place with a 5-2 win against Real Betis at the Camp Nou Stadium on Saturday.

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