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Real Madrid takes the lead in Spain’s La Liga

Real Madrid took advantage of rival Barcelona being the first to trip after the Spanish league restarted, and retook the lead with a 2-1 victory at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema scored second-half goals as Madrid moved ahead of its rival for the first time since the restart.

Ramos converted a 50th-minute penalty kick and Benzema added to the lead in the 70th to move Madrid in front of the Catalan club, which on Friday was held by fourth-place Sevilla to a 0-0 draw. Madrid and Barcelona are level on 65 points, but Madrid has a better head-to-head record against its rival.

Madrid had led five of the last seven rounds before the break, but Barcelona went in front just before the league was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic more than three months ago. Barcelona had stayed ahead after two consecutive victories since the league restarted. The defending champions have eight rounds left to try to retake the lead.

“There are still a lot of games left, coming every three days, and the pressure remains the same,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane stated. “It’s a good victory but it doesn’t change our way of thinking. Everything will be decided in the end.”

Madrid kept its perfect record on its return despite a lackluster first half at Sociedad.

Ramos broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after Vinícius Júnior was fouled, and Benzema sealed the victory from inside the area for his third goal after the break. The French striker — who had a double in the team’s 3-0 victory over Valencia on Thursday — reached 17th league goals, four behind scoring leader Lionel Messi.

It was the third consecutive setback for Sociedad since the league resumed, dropping the Basque Country club to seventh place. It had returned from the break in fourth place, the final Champions League spot.

Ramos was substituted 10 minutes after scoring. He had needed medical assistance a few moments earlier for an apparent knee injury.

Colombia midfielder James Rodriguéz made his first start for Real Madrid since October. He was substituted in the 78th.

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