Ronaldo powers Real

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 22nd La Liga goal of the season to set Real Madrid up for a 2-0 win at home to Granada on Saturday that lifted them above Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to the top of the table.

Barca and Atletico, who were scheduled to play on Sunday, have drawn their last two outings including a 0-0 stalemate between the pair at the Calderon Stadium in Madrid that allowed Real to narrow the gap in the three-horse title race.

Saturday’s laboured victory at the Bernabeu was Real’s fifth in a row in La Liga since a 2-2 draw at Osasuna in December and they lead the way for the first time since winning the title in  2011-12. France forward Karim Benzema was also on target as Carlo Ancelotti’s side moved on to 53 points from 21 matches. Barca and Atletico have 51 points ahead of their games on Sunday at home to 15th-placed Malaga and at second from bottom Rayo Vallecano respectively.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Villarreal’s bid for a place in Europe next season suffered a setback when they were beaten 1-0 at Real Valladolid. Villarreal stay fifth on 37 points, two behind Athletic Bilbao who visit Osasuna on Sunday.

Valencia and Espanyol drew 2-2 at the Mestalla stadium and Sevilla twice surrendered the lead as they lost 3-2 at home to Levante. Each side had a player sent off in added time at the Sanchez Pizjuan as tempers frayed.

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