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Ronaldo lifts Real to the top

 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, yesterday, that lifted them above Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to the top of the table.

Barca and Atletico, who play today, 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.

Yesterday’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 today at home to 15th-placed Malaga and at second from bottom Rayo Vallecano, respectively.

“The most important thing is the balance the team has at the moment, that’s the key,” Ancelotti told a news conference.  “We are defending well and attacking well,” added the Italian, in his first season in charge after taking over from Jose Mourinho.

“There is always room for improvement and sometimes we need to increase the tempo but the key is the team’s balance.”

After a shaky start to the campaign, Real have tightened up their leaky defence and have not conceded in seven straight games in all competitions, equalling their best                                                                                        run of clean sheets from the 1994-95 season.

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