BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid needed a defender to end a run of three straight draws and a worrisome scoring drought on Saturday as it resumed its Spanish league campaign after the winter break.
Madrid center back Raphael Varane scored with a header after helping to play a part in an own-goal by Getafe’s goalkeeper to fuel a 3-0 victory at crosstown rival Getafe.
The first win in four rounds by Zinedine Zidane’s team left it atop the standings at one point above Barcelona before the defending champions played at Espanyol hours later.
Goalkeeper Jan Oblak made a pair of spectacular saves late in Atlético Madrid’s 2-1 win against Levante, ensuring it moved past Sevilla into third place on goal difference.
Also, Valencia beat Eibar 1-0.
Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético and Valencia will travel to Saudi Arabia to contest the new-look Spanish Super Cup next week.
Varane was already charged with anchoring a backline that was without the suspended Sergio Ramos. But he also came through at the other end to help get his team’s first goals after back-to-back scoreless draws.
Varane was involved in an own-goal by Getafe goalkeeper David Soria to open the scoring in the 34th minute when they challenged for a high ball in the area. The Spanish league credited the goal to Soria, who appeared to knock the ball into his own net after failing to punch it clear.
Varane doubled the lead in the 53rd when he was left unmarked to head home a free kick by Toni Kroos. Luka Modric added a third goal in stoppage time as Getafe lost its second of 10 league home matches this season.
“We have made a good start to the year,” Zidane said.
Atlético got a third straight victory after scoring early and relying on Oblak to protect the three points.
Thomas Partey started the attractive move that led to Correa's opener in the 13th when he played Kieran Trippier wide down the right flank. Trippier, instead of controlling the ball, used a precise single touch to send in a cross to the near post where Correa redirected it home.
Roger Martí did well to level three minutes later for Levante when he swept in a lobbed pass for his ninth goal of the season.
Atlético defender Felipe Monteiro hit right back for Atlético in the 19th with a powerful header.
Atlético turned to Oblak to make two one-handed saves in denying Enis Bardhi late in the game. Oblak frustrated Bardhi’s excellent solo effort after he dribbled past three defenders before shooting off-balance. The Slovenia goalkeeper then surpassed that by stopping Bardhi’s point-blank header on one of the final touches of the match.
“We all want to wrap the games up early, but we didn’t score the third goal that would have put it away,” Oblak said. “It was a reflex save and fortunately I stopped (Bardhi’s last attempt).”
Valencia striker Maxi Gómez scored from a pass by Daniel Wass in the first half of a home win over Eibar.
Valencia, which struggled early in the season, continued to climb up the table into sixth place.
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