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A brutal Benzema back-heel and nothing more


The Espanyol - Real Madrid game was coming to the halfway stage when we saw the move of the day: Benzema picked up a ball on a diagonal run across the box, moving away from the goal, but instead of escaping off to the wing, as looked the easiest way out, he surprised everyone with a back-heel through the legs of his marker, Bernardo, putting the ball onto the six-yard line for Casemiro to run onto and score at his pleasure against Diego López, utterly discombobulated by the move. A genius moment that lit up a dull night, which saw Espanyol throw everything they had against a functional Madrid, who seemed to be waiting for the game to win itself.

Real Madrid struggled to kill off Espanyol

And the game didn't win itself, that back-heel won it, while the rest of the team did nothing whatsoever, either before or after, that was worthy of comment. In sum, it was the worst game from Real Madrid in this conclusion to LaLiga, after the break imposed by the coronavirus. Madrid played poorly. The home side came out with the terrible news, for them, of Eibar's win, which makes their possible salvation from relegation even more unlikely, but they played with brio, gave it everything they had right to the end, and were still in the hunt in the 94th minute when they had a chance to salvage a draw.

Real Madrid sitting pretty at the top of the table

But the game finished 0-1, thanks to that moment just before half-time, which leaves Espanyol in dire straits (for me they already were at the start to be honest) and Real Madrid sitting pretty, two points ahead of Barcelona and with a better head to head (if Real Madrid and Barcelona are tied on points, Madrid will win the title thanks to their head-to-head record). They've won five games since the restart, meaning they can afford a draw in their last six games, even if Barça win all their remaining fixtures, which I don't see happening. That said, we're still waiting for Hazard to show us something to remind us of the player he was before he came to Madrid, that fast, inspirational attacking player, who we only saw two or three times before his injury.