Real Madrid has provisionally gone top of Laliga after beating nineteenth placed Espanyol 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu despite finishing the game with 10 men.
Real Madrid welcomed struggling Catalan side, Espanyol to the Bernabeu for Saturday’s early Laliga Santander kick off.
Zinedine Zidane was forced into making changes to his side that beat Alaves last weekend, no thanks to recent injuries to Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Marcelo.
Brazilian young talents, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jnr partnered Karim Benzema in attack. The midfield consisted of Valverde, Casemiro and Toni kroos; their best combination this season. Ramos, Varane, Carvaji and Ferland Mendy manned the defence while Courtois protected the goal post for Zinedine Zidane.
An attack move from Vinicius saw Real create their first clear chance in the game but Diego Lopez did well in goal to deny the young star.
Espanyol had a shot at scoring the opening goal in the 25th minute when Calleri’s cross was met by a Grenaro super header but Courtois reacted well enough to parry.
Real Madrid’s pressure and supreme possession finally paid off through an unlikely source.
Raphael Varane converted Benzema’s through pass with his left foot to put Los Blancos one nill up.
Diego Lopez did well to deny a Vinicius’ blitz attack yet again to end the first half at 1-0.
After 25 minutes of no-show in the second half from both sides, Real Madrid finally had a good chance to double their lead.
Vinicius drifted from the left flank, managing to connect Benzema, but the top goal scorer this season couldn’t direct his left footed shot well enough to score.
However, it wasn’t long until the reassuring goal which the Madrid side needed came.
Valverde was put through at the right flank by Karim Benzema, the impressive Uruguay midfielder did well to return a low cross to Benzema in the box, who made no mistake this time to hammer in his 11th league goal of the season.
With seven minutes of regular time left to play, Real got reduced to 10 men after the centre referee flashed Ferland Mendy a second yellow card.
The Spanish giants managed to grind out the game as they up-sit Barcelona at the top pending the outcome of their match with Real Mallorca.
Laliga Santander Standing
|6||Atlético de Madrid||27||11||12||4||31||21||+10||45|