Hazard scores 1st goal for Real Madrid in 4-2 win v Granada

Real Madrid's Federico Valverde runs with the ball during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Granada at the Santiago Bernarbeu stadium in Madrid, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Eden Hazard scored his first goal for Real Madrid in a 4-2 win over Granada in the Spanish league to answer criticism that had surfaced over his lackluster performances since joining the club

MADRID — Eden Hazard scored his first goal for Real Madrid in a 4-2 win over Granada in the Spanish league on Saturday, answering criticism that had surfaced over his lackluster performances since joining the club.

Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and James Rodríguez also scored for league leader Madrid in the win over second-place Granada, the surprising southern Spain club back in the first division after two years.

Madrid, which arrived under pressure after a 2-2 home draw against Club Brugge in the Champions League, opened a four-point lead over Granada and third-place Atlético Madrid, which visits Valladolid on Sunday. Fourth-place Barcelona, five points off the lead, hosts Sevilla on Sunday.

Madrid's top signing since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard scored his first goal with Madrid in a breakaway in first-half stoppage time, sending his shot over Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva as defenders closed in.

Hazard arrived amid high expectations as Madrid paid Chelsea a reported fee of 100 million euros (now $110 million) plus add-ons, making him the club's most expensive signing ever.

The Belgium playmaker missed the start of the season because of a muscle injury and was yet to impress since he returned to action. Hazard was still far from his best on Saturday, but got a loud ovation from the crowd after being replaced by Francisco "Isco" Alarcón in the 69th minute.

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