Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol LaLiga: match report, goals, action
Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol match report
At the fourth time of asking, Real Madrid managed to win at home in LaLiga thanks to an Isco double with goals in either half. After disappointing draws with Valencia and Levante followed by a loss to Real Betis, Real Madrid get all three points despite never really getting out of third gear.
Isco started quickest and nearly gave Real Madrid the lead after 25 seconds but Pau Lopez saved to his left to foil the attacking midfielder. It was all Real Madrid from that point despite Espanyol never really falling into a purely defensive gameplan - even though they came close.
The goal, that was coming, eventually arrived on 30 minutes when Ronaldo teed Isco up perfectly with a through ball and Isco toe-poked it under Lopez, who had no chance this time. Espanyol managed to rattle the post with a shot from Gerard Moreno but that was late in the half after absorbing plenty of Real Madrid attacking play for most of the half.
Espanyol started the second half with far more intent and might have had the lead a couple of times. Marc Navarro, a half-time substitute came close with an effort from the right that Navas saves and Ramos gifted Espanyol the ball before it was squared to Leo Baptistao who couldn't make contact as the hosts scrambled it away.
Just minutes later, Real Madrid were up the other end and Asensio pulled it back to Isco. He took his time before slotting past Lopez from just inside the penalty area. It was 2-0 with 20 minutes left and Espanyol were as good as finished.
That was it as a contest as Espanyol had exhausted all of their resources trying to get that elusive equaliser.
In the end, Zinedine Zidane landed his 50th win in LaLiga thanks to Isco and two excellent attacks but truth be told, Real Madrid never truly got out of third gear.
Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol: as it happened
Game over! It ends with a Ronaldo cross that is headed wide. He's not happy but Real Madrid seal all three points.
Min 90 | Aaron fouled for the most cynical of pull-backs on Isco. Booked.
Min 89 | Ramos clears for a corner but only after he had failed to clear and left himself in trouble.
Min 87 | Lucas Vazquez with a cross from deep that bounces in front of Lucas Vazquez. He gets something on it but Pau Lopez is equal to it.
Min 84 | Ronaldo down on the ground. Real Madrid play on. Hermoso the man with the last gasp slide to prevent a goal there.
Min 82 | Dani Ceballos replaces Luke Modric.
Min 81 | Isco takes it down and sends it back towards goal. Espanyol scramble it away with a couple of Real Madrid players throwing themselves at it.
Min 80 | Modric with an effort now that goes just wide. It hit David Lopez on the face and goes out for a corner.
Min 79 | Ball in over the top to Ronaldo by Isco is perfect. Ronaldo's first touch slightly off and he has words with Hermoso after the ball runs out over the endline.
Min 77 | Casemiro with a foul on Aaron. He dives in with two feet and scissor kicks the left-back. Lucky it's just a yellow.
Min 75 | Long ball to Isco and Pau Lopez is off his line like a light. Cleared.
Min 74 | Sergio Garcia fouled and Granero has a chance to put one into the box. He does but it goes out the other side soon after.
Min 71 | Isco strikes and scores. 2-0. Granero at fault as he gave it away. Asensio teed it up for his teammate.
Min 70 | Ramos makes a mess of it. He gives it back to Espanyol in his six-yard box. Squared and Real Madrid manage to get it away. What an unbelievable chance.
Min 70 | Lucas Vazquez replaces Toni Kroos.
Min 69 | Asensio with an effort. He drags it well wide. Not happening for him today either.
Min 68 | Sergio Sanchez looks like he'll have to call it a day. Pointing to the muscle just over his knee. Esteban Granero coming on.
Min 67 | Kroos looks for someone in the penalty area but his cross is way over.
Min 65 | Asensio fouled by Sergio Sanchez and recieves a booking. Asensio might have been away if he wasn't fouled there.
Min 64 | Baptistao looks for Moreno but Varane does well to cut it out. What a chance that was as Espanyol had broke in a two-on-one.
Min 62 | Asensio whips a cross in, Ronaldo has a strike on the volley. It comes out to Ramos but he was in an offside position.
Min 60 | Gerard Moreno loses out to Casemiro, chases him down and fouls the Brazilian.
Min 59 | Nacho down the left and wins a corner off Sergio Sanchez.
Min 57 | Darder takes Casemiro's legs from under him as Espanyol think they're away but referee calls it back.
Min 56 | Garcia fire a cross into the box. Navarro goes for it and Nacho takes him down. Might have been an appeal for the penalty but referee doesn't give it.
Min 55 | Achraf wins a corner for Real Madrid.
Min 53 | Modric clips one towards Ronaldo and he's only about 6 yards offside.
Min 50 | Kroos with a really lazy pass bac to Varane. Espanyol win it back and Navarro gets the ball out on the right. He strikes, Navas saves and Real Madrid's blushes saved.
Min 48 | Baptistao through on goal but decides to play it back to Moreno. He can't find room for a shot either. It was on for both of them. But they lose out.
Min 47 | Achraf with the pull-back. Modric with the step-over. Isco tries to strike but Espanyol crowd him out.
Min 46 | Back underway for the second half. Two changes for Espanyol. Roca and Jurado off and Sergio Garcia and Marc Navarro on.
HT! It ends with a Nacho cross that is way off target. Ronaldo looking at him wondering what he was doing!
Min 45 | Nacho bundles over Baptistao. Sergio Sanchez down after breaking up the move before it as Ronaldo streaked into the box.
Min 44 | Failed clearance by Casemiro. It falls to Moreno and he throws his foot at it. It beats Navas but not the post. Asensio counters and cuts inside before striking low and hard at Pau Lopez.
Min 42 | Kroos throws one into the back post and Ronaldo heads but it catches an Espanyol defender and out for a corner.
Min 42 | Gerard Moreno breaks free with what looked like it might have been handball. He gets inside Nacho and rolls a shot into Navas' arms. Poor.
Min 39 | Achraf and Aaron down the left in a race. Neither make it to it before it goes out for a goal-kick but Achraf had it covered.
Min 36 | Nacho pulls Baptistao back on the break and picks up a yellow. He seemed to hurt himself too in the process. He's up again to receive his warning.
Min 35 | Ramos floats one towards Ronaldo in the area now but it's well defended and cleared.
Min 33 | Another ball over the top to Ronaldo and he takes it down before firing into Pau Lopez. Save and Espanyol break but they can't do anything with it.
Min 31 | Ronaldo comes close. Ball from Asensio and Ronaldo takes it down perfectly before striking over. Would have been a peach but he just couldn't get it to sit down.
Min 30 | GOAL! Ronaldo with a lovely pass inside to Isco and he makes no mistake this time. He pokes it underneath Pau Lopez. 1-0. That's been coming.
Min 27 | Baptistao down after he caught an elbow from his own teammate, Sergio Sanchez. He's up now and all good.
Min 26 | Real Madrid starting to tap slightly harder on the door here. Still no breakthrough but setting up shop in Espanyol's half.
Min 24 | Cross comes in from Ronaldo. Ramos heads towards goal and Pau Lopez acrobatically taps it over. Corner!
Min 22 | Modric with an effort that goes wide. Pulled back by Isco. Real Madrid have been blunt in attack so far.
Min 20 | Gerard Moreno trying to wriggles his way free and into a shooting position but Modric sticks with him. Isco fouled by Fuego.
Min 19 | Ball comes in from Isco to the back post. Ronaldo sticks his head out and can't reach it. A clap for the delivery from the Portuguese but it was just slightly off target.
Min 18 | Nacho and Baptistao go shoulder-to-shoulder and it comes off Nacho. Throw for Espanyol.
Min 15 | Jurado starts a counter. Looks ahead and turns back. Espanyol decide to go backwards, take a breather and start again.
Min 14 | Achraf leaves a defender on his backside and cross but Espanyol break. Baptistao's cross-field pass is way off target and straight to Navas.
Min 13 | Asensio tries to cross but it's blocked and put out for a throw.
Min 11 | Baptistao gets it on the right, races clear and sets Gerard Moreno off but Varane's offside trap is flawless and catches the striker off.
Min 10 | Nacho launches a cross to the back post, and beyond, and it's headed away but Real Madrid pick it straight back up again.
Min 9 | Ronaldo playing as a striker, Asensio to the right and Isco on the left.
Min 7 | Isco clips one to the back post. Ramos gets a shot away but it's not great and Lopez comfortable.
Min 6 | Roca fouls Modric. Espanyol struggling to see any of the ball early on.
Min 4 | Kroos tries a cross and Baptistao blocks it for a corner. Pau Lopez clears with a fist and Asensio follows up with a strike that goes just wide.
Min 3 | Another effort. Pau Lopez saves.
Min 1 | After 25 seconds, Isco races clear and fires into Pau Lopez' arms. The keeper guessed the correct way and was waiting for the ball. Very nearly an opener!
Min 1 | We are underway at the Santiago Bernabeu.
20:40 | Real Madrid in the tunnel now and ready for action.
20:28 | Espanyol have the chance to move into Europa League places tonight with a win. Real Madrid can go ahead of Real Betis and into fourth with a victory.
20:14 | They are handing out Spanish flags to be held up in the 12th minute. The sheet says "we will lift them in the 12th minute because we are the 12th player and we are Spain."
20:07 | Anyway, enough about Achraf. Gareth Bale being injured means Marco Asensio reurns to the starting line-up and will likely line up on the left with Ronaldo playing centrally. Isco will drop between the lines as usual, in that number ten position. Despite Zidane's concerns with injury, he has his first choice midfield in Kroos, Modric and Casemiro.
20:05 | A very quirky one. Achraf is the 586th player to play for Real Madrid in the league today. He is the first listed alphabetically. And the manager is the last listed alphabetically.
19:58 | Quique Sanchez Flores has made three changes to his side that beat Depor quite comfortably last weekend. Sergio Sanchez replaces Victor Sanchez, although it might not be a direct swap. Marc Roca comes in for Papkouli Diop, and Javi Fuego comes in for Pablo Piatti as it appears he will go look to shut things down against Real Madrid.
19:44 | An interesting stat. The last time Espanyol won at the Bernabeu back in 1996, Real Madrid's right-back, Achraf Hakimi was not even born yet. He is also the first ever Moroccan to play with Los Blancos.
19:38 | Espanyol team news: Pau Lopez, Aaron, Gerard, Jurado, Baptistao, David Lopez, Fuego, Roca, Hermoso, Sergio Sanchez, Darder.
19:34 | Real Madrid team news: Navas, Achraf, Varane, Ramos, Nacho, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Ronaldo, Asensio, Isco.
19:31 | Achraf will reportedly start at right-back tonight in place of Dani Carvajal. With Nacho already being needed out at left-back, really good chance for the 18-year-old to show the Bernabeu what he is worth.
18:53 | Meanwhile, at the top of the table, Barcelona have furthered their lead to five. That can't change regardless of what happens tonight at the Bernabeu. Here's a match report from a very strange day in Barcelona as the game was played behind closed doors.
16:32 | Florentino Perez will have to sit down and have a chat about his contract soon but Perez waxed lyrical about Ronaldo at the general assembly and said that he is a symbol of Real Madrid's DNA.
14:40 | Another key Real Madrid player missing today is Dani Carvajal as Madrid confirm he's suffering with a viral pericardium infection.
14:20 | No place for Gareth Bale in today's Real Madrid squad as Zidane names his 18 man squad.
14:00 | With the disturbing scenes coming in from Catalonia this morning, everything points to the game at Camp Nou against Las Palmas being postponed.
Real Madrid vs Espanyol: live online latest news
Real Madrid welcome Espanyol on Sunday night at 20:45 CEST as they look to return to winning ways at the Bernabeu after this last outing ended in defeat to Real Betis at the stadium. Espanyol are on a three game unbeaten streak themselves and will hope to cause Zidane's side problems as their injuries continue to mount.
Zinedine Zidane says he will wait until Sunday to decide whether Gareth Bale is okay to play having suffered a "slight strain" on his calf during the Borussia Dortmund game. The Welshman was hitting a decent patch of form and his abesence could be a blow to the reigning LaLiga champions.
Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal has also been ruled out with a viral infection. Theo Hernandez and Marcelo remain out meaning Nacho will deputise at left-back meaning Achraf Hakimi is set to make his first start in Real Madrid's first team.
Mateo Kovacic and Karim Benzema remain out with longer term injuries.
Marco Asensio could benefit from Bale's absence after he missed out against Dortmund during the week. While Ronaldo, who trained in the gym during Real Madrid's last training session, continues to battle lawyers regarding his tax issues as he hopes to renew his contract, Zidane says, "Marco [Asensio] is right in what he said about Cristiano. He can see it from close quarters, Cristiano is an example for everyone - for his energy which rubs off on the rest of the lads. I'm happy Asensio has renewed, he deserves it. And I'm happy for all of the others who have renewed their contracts. Let's hope others end up staying for a long time at this club”.
Quique Sanches Flores' side collapsed against Barcelona but have strung together a decent run of results in the aftermatch. Seven points from nine see them sitting 13th and a win or two away from the European places where they truly want to get to this season.
The former Atletico Madrid and Watford manager said, "I know how that stadium and that team works. I try to transmit that to our players, that they aren’t reckless, play with rigour, don’t fall asleep, keep their concentration… We can’t close our eyes for an instant. I hope we’re strong, dignified and that we have chances."
He added, "There are results that are to do with what develops on the pitch, and others that aren’t. […] We have various goals. The first is to win, the second is to draw, and the third is to lose with honour."
Espanyol will be without Oscar Duarte and Javi Lopez along with Hernán Pérez, Víctor Sánchez and Pablo Piatti.
Real Madrid vs Espanyol enhanced betting odds:
Not having won at the Bernabeu in the Spanish league for two decades sees the "Budgies" as rank outsiders to scoop all three points with a surprise win for the Catalan side paying out at 25/1.