Real Madrid came back stronger from their embarrassing exit from the Copa del Rey for playing an ineligible player in midweek by cruising to a 4-1 victory over Getafe on Saturday.
However, they remain two points behind Atletico Madrid in third after goals from Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann handed Diego Simeone’s men a 2-0 win at Granada.
Karim Benzema was back in the Real starting line-up and scored his first two goals since being caught up in a blackmail scandal involving French international teammate Mathieu Valbuena inside 16 minutes.
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo then made it 4-0 before half-time before Alexis pulled a goal back for Getafe 21 minutes from time.
Victory reduced the gap between Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table to three points.
However, Barca can restore their six-point advantage when they travel to Valencia later on Saturday.
Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo started a league game together for just the fourth time this season and just as in early season thrashings of Real Betis and Espanyol, their presence restored Madrid’s firepower up front.
“To get the three points playing very well in the first half means that these players, who we know are very important, once they get up to speed can cause a lot of damage to any defence,” said Madrid boss Rafael Benitez.
“The fact Benzema scored those two goals and contributed so much to the team going forward reinforces even more what I have said before that he is a very important player for us and makes those around him play better.”
Any sign of the fans’ frustration at the club’s latest gaffe in being eliminated from the Cup due to an administrative error was eased when Benzema fired home from Pepe’s fine cross after just five minutes.
Benzema has rarely featured in the last two months due to an ongoing hamstring injury allied to his off-field problems.
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