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Asensio spurs Real Madrid to 2-0 win over Granada

Substitute Marco Asensio helped lead Real Madrid to a 2-0 win over Granada on Wednesday, keeping it level on points with Spanish league leader Atlético Madrid.

Two minutes of inspired attacking by Asensio culminated in his pass for Casemiro to head in the 57th-minute opener at Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium.

Karim Benzema scored Madrid’s second goal in the game’s final seconds with Granada caught off balance while searching for an equalizer.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo is carried off the pitch with an injury during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Madrid’s fifth league victory in a row left it in second place behind Atlético on goal difference. The title chase is shaping up to be a contest between the two capital city rivals. They are both six points ahead of Real Sociedad and Villarreal. Fifth-place Barcelona is eight points back.

Atlético also has more games in hand to play than the pursuing pack. Atlético has played 13 games, Barcelona 14, Madrid and Villarreal 15, and Sociedad 16.

Asensio replaced forward Rodrygo Goes in the 38th when the 19-year-old Brazilian grabbed his right thigh and asked to be substituted.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo is carried off the pitch with an injury during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

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Real Madrid's Rodrygo sits on the pitch with an injury during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Real Madrid's Raphael Varane runs with the ball during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos adjusts his captain's band during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, right, and Granada's Alberto Soro vie for the ball during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP PhotoBernat Armangue)