Benzema and Modric on song as Real Madrid beat Espanyol
Real Madrid beat Espanyol on Sunday night thanks to a brace from Karim Benzema, a Sergio Ramos header and a Gareth Bale goal from the bench.
Espanyol 2-4 Real Madrid: match report
Karim Benzema looks back to his very best as Real Madrid swept Espanyol aside for their third victory in LaLiga in a row and back into third spot after Sevilla nicked it off them with their win on Saturday afternoon.
Real Madrid had Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos to call on again but only the German made the starting XI with Bale's influence off the bench ending the game as a competition in the second half. Marcelo was left on the bench against for an impressive Sergio Reguilón and Isco, again forgotten barely budged from his spot on the sideline.
The visitors got off to a glorious start when Luka Modric burrowed his way through the middle and poked a shot towards Diego Lopez only to see it saved. Karim Benzema was on hand, however, to turn the rebound home after four minutes.
Sergio Ramos doubled their lead after 15 minutes with his 10th goal of the season, his 83rd in a Real Madrid shirt, and his 50th header. His experience with his noggin was on display as he looped past Lopez.
The game looked over at that point with Espanyol showing little ambition and even when they did, they couldn't manage any kind of meaningful attack. That was until Leo Baptistao got a stroke of luck as a deflected shot landed to him only to see him blaze into the roof of the net beyond a helpless thibaut Courtois.
The next 20 minutes, until the break, was as competitive as it would get as the home side started to fight for possession and fight, in general, as Leo Baptistao was lucky to avoid punishment for a hefty aerial challenge on Reguilón and Sergio Ramos suffered a late challenge from Sergio Garcia.
The Real Madrid defender would have to come off at the break with no news on the knee injury that forced him off. Emilio Butragueño said he "suffered some discomfort" but would not say how bad it was.
But before the break, Benzema cut in from the left and played the ball to Vinicius, before recieving the ball back and curling past the keeper to make it 3-1.
Real Madrid continued to dominate in the second half with Espanyol lacking the finishing touch needed to put pressure on their opponents and Gareth Bale finished matter on 67 minutes. He was on the field just three minutes and he blasted home after good work from Lucas Vazquez.
Espanyol, with nothing left to lose, came out of their shell. Their new found attacking intent was helped by Raphael Varane's red card as he clipped Pablo Piatti in a clear goalscoring position.
Roberto Rosales rounded out the scoring with an 81st minutes screamed as he chested down a pass over the top and slammed beyond Courtois.
But that was it as the scoreline gives the impression that Espanyol were in with a shout. They weren't and Rubi might be wondering what's next as the club's president flew in to dine with Florentino Perez and assess the running of the club.
No such problems for Santiago Solari though as they remain on the winning path and with Benzema and Modric in such form and players returning form injuries in droves, they could continue on that path for some time.
Espanyol vs Real Madrid: live match updates
Espanyol vs Real Madrid live online: preview
Real Madrid play Espanyol at RCDE Stadium in the last installment of LaLiga action of the weekend with a 20:45 CET kick-off from Barcelona. Espanyol, who have been sinking like a stone under Rubi despite a very positive start, will be hoping to build on their win over Leganés in their last Liga home game after a horrible run while Real Madrid have had two positive results in a row with wins over Sevilla and Girona in the Copa as they try to make that three in a row and improve confidence further under Santiago Solari.
Espanyol beat Leganés in their last home game thanks to a Borja Iglesias goal but lost to Real Sociedad the following week as their bright start under Rubi continues to dissipate and fade into the past. Rubi's record against Real Madrid does not make for great reading and he has failed on the three attempts he has made to beat them. Espanyol's record isn't a whole lot better with just one win since 2007. The positive thing about that is the win came last season thanks to a Gerard Moreno goal. He has left for Villarreal but Iglesis looks the part up front for the Barcelona's based side and they will be relying on him to help them to a result on Sunday night.
Real Madrid welcome Gareth Bale back into their squad but all signs point to a Karim Benzema, Vinicius duo in attack with Lucas Vazquez set to continue on the right hand side. The Brazilian winger has taken his chance due to injuries and is Real Madrid's best player in 2019. Solari says Benzema is very generous and has been playing in might Spain but he has been playing very well with the lively Vinicius by his side and Real Madrid have improved. Toni Kroos should also start in midfield with Casemiro and Modric while Marcelo's exile is set to continue with Sergio Reguilón impressing in his stead.