Eden Hazard scores first goal for La Liga leaders Real Madrid
Eden Hazard ended the wait for his first Real Madrid goal, but his team had to resist a spirited second-half comeback from Granada to seal a thrilling 4-2 victory in La Liga on Saturday.
Karim Benzema put Real ahead in the second minute at the Santiago Bernabeu, before Hazard opened his account with a delightful lifted finish towards the end of the first half.
Luka Modric's bending long-range effort on the hour looked to have confirmed the win, but Granada scored twice in quick succession through Darwin Machis and Domingos Duarte, the first from the penalty spot, to set up a tense last 12 minutes.
James Rodriguez, on as a substitute, ended the rally by scoring his first Real goal since May 2017 to wrap up an unexpectedly dramatic contest between the league's top two.
Real will stay first heading into the international break even if newly promoted Granada demonstrated why they have made such a remarkable opening to the season.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane said: "We didn't surrender, we kept going and we knew any time we could score a fourth."
Real had been in control, their fluency and tempo contributing to arguably the best hour of football they have played this season.
Yet a hectic 20-minute period in the second half took some of the gloss off a win that at least gets Zidane's side back on track following their 2-2 draw at home to Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Hazard, a 100-million euro (S$151m) signing from Chelsea, had become a growing concern after five underwhelming matches, the patience granted to him following his injury in pre-season beginning to run out.
"We need Eden like that, playing well and scoring," Zidane said.
"He was happy at the end of the game in the changing room. We are happy for him and his goal. I hope it is the first of many."
Toni Kroos walked off injured in the first half to be replaced by Modric, while Zidane said afterwards that Gareth Bale's substitution late on was also due to a knock.
Their fitness will be a concern for Germany and Wales respectively ahead of the international break.- AFP
Valencia 2 Alaves 1, Celta Vigo 1 Athletic Bilbao 0, Real Valladolid 0 Atletico Madrid 0