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Ronaldo scores twice to give Madrid 1st league win

By Joseph Wilson

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 2 2012 2:13 p.m. MDT

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal reacts after receiving an injury during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012.

Andres Kudacki, Associated Press

BARCELONA, Spain — Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to steer Real Madrid to a 3-0 home win over Granada on Sunday, the defending champions' first victory after three rounds of the Spanish season.

Madrid displayed little of the attacking flair it unleashed to topple Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup earlier this week, but Ronaldo's first league goals this season proved more than enough against the modest talents of Granada.

Ronaldo scored in the 26th and 54th minutes before leaving the pitch grimacing and favoring his left leg following a tackle by Borja Gomez that cost the Granada defender a second booking.

With Granada down a man, Gonzalo Higuain scored in the 76th to seal the much-needed win. Madrid had only one point after the first two rounds.

Later, Barcelona looks to stay perfect in the league against Valencia.

Also, Athletic Bilbao beat Valladolid 2-0 for the Basques first win of the season. Sevilla drew 0-0 at Rayo Vallecano, and 10-man Levante came from behind to win 3-2 against visiting Espanyol.

In his first start for Madrid since joining from Tottenham, Luka Modric looked eager to justify his €35 million ($44 million) price tag. The Croatia playmaker drew an early save from Antonio "Tono" Rodriguez and combined well with his new teammates.

Ronaldo opened for the defending champions in the 26th when he slotted Jose Callejon's pass between Tono's legs from a tight angle on the left side of the area.

But just like in the previous two matches against Valencia and Getafe, Madrid retreated after going in front, giving Granada a chance to come forward.

Granada forwards Floro Flores and Youssef El Arabi both came close before Ronaldo tested Tono just before the break.

Mourinho sent on winger Angel Di Maria for Callejon at the start of the second half to try to jumpstart his attack.

The Argentina international quickly responded by sliding a through ball to Ronaldo cutting toward the near post. Tono did well to block his first shot, only to see the ball fall to Ronaldo's feet for him to fire into the open net.

The Portugal striker chose not to celebrate his goals, apparently still displeased with his lackluster play in the league.

Reduced to 10 men after Gomez's sending off, the visitors fell apart at the back, leaving Higuain alone to tap in a cross from an equally unmarked Karim Benzema and cap the victory.

On Saturday, it was: Celta Vigo 2, Osasuna 0; Zaragoza 0, Malaga 1; Deportivo La Coruna 1, Getafe 1; and Mallorca 1, Real Sociedad 0.

Originally scheduled for Monday, Real Betis vs. Atletico Madrid has been postponed due to international matches.

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