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Real Madrid claim derby win against Atletico to stay top
Published in Ahram Online on 01 - 02 - 2020

Real Madrid extended its winning run and increased its Spanish league lead by defeating Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the Spanish capital derby on Saturday.
Karim Benzema scored a second-half winner to give Madrid its eighth straight victory this year and a six-point lead over second-placed Barcelona, which hosts Levante on Sunday.
The loss virtually ended Atletico's title hopes, as it stayed 13 points off the lead and was in danger of dropping to seventh place by the end of the weekend.
Madrid was unbeaten against Atletico in the league in seven consecutive matches, but it hadn't defeated its rival at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in six straight games.
The win extended Madrid's unbeaten streak in all competitions to 21 matches. One of its victories came against Atletico in a penalty shootout in the Spanish Super Cup final this month in Saudi Arabia.
Atletico's winless streak has reached five matches in all competitions, one of its worst stints since coach Diego Simeone arrived nearly a decade ago. The latest defeat has limited its main challenge to trying to make it back to the Champions League.
It was an even match in the first half but Atletico had some of the most significant chances, including a close-range shot by Angel Correa that hit the post.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane changed the team's formation in the second half and the game quickly turned in Madrid's favor, with substitute Vinicius Junior starting the play that led to Benzema's winner from close range in the 56th minute.
Benzema hit a one-timer from just outside the six-yard box after a low cross from Ferland Mendy, whose run inside the area met a well-placed through ball by Vinicius Junior.
Zidane started the match with five midfielders, with Benzema as the lone striker up front. The formation was first used in the Spanish Super Cup. But after the lackluster first half, he successfully changed it back to a 4-3-3 scheme, with Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior coming off the bench to flank Benzema in the attack.
There was a moment of silence to honor Kobe Bryant before the match.
GRANADA REBOUNDS
Granada ended a two-game losing streak in the league by coming from behind to beat last-placed Espanyol 2-1 at home.
The victory moved Granada to 10th place.
Espanyol stayed three points from safety at the bottom of the standings.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)


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