Real Madrid 3-1 Espanyol: Galacticos bounce back to close gap on Barca

Real Madrid 3-1 Espanyol: Vinicius Junior and Eder Militao cancel out Joselu’s early strike to end the Galactico’s three-match winless drought… closing the gap on Barcelona at the top of LaLiga to six points

  • Real Madrid beat Espanyol 3-1 on Saturday to close the gap between Barcelona at the top of the LaLiga table
  • Espanyol took an early lead inside the first eight minutes with Joselu firing home from inside the penalty area   
  • Vinicius Jr showed off a brilliant bit of skill to evade three defenders before firing home to bring Madrid level
  • Eder Militao followed up before half time to give Carlo Ancelotti’s side the lead before the break with a header 
  • Marco Asensio put the finishing touches on an excellent performance on the 93rd minute to secure the win 

Real Madrid headed to this Champions League second leg against Liverpool with a comfortable home win over Espanyol.

Vinicius was the catalyst for the three points that help them close the gap on Barcelona at the top to six points. But they started poorly and gave the visitors a goal start.

Espanyol were looking for their first win at the Bernabeu since 1996 and they got off to a flier when Joselu put them in front. There was a clash in midfield between Sergi Darder and Aurélien Tchouaméni but it was ignored by the referee and the visitors made the most of the decision to play on.

A long ball went out to Ruben Sanchez and he ran in behind Eduardo Camavinga taking the ball on his chest before drilling a low cross in towards Joselu.

The top Spanish scorer in La Liga finished first time into the top corner and Espanyol had the early lead.

Joselu opened the scoring, receiving a pass from Ruben Sanchez to fire home a neat finish to put the away side 1-0 up

Vinicius Jr levelled the scores, with a stunning solo run that saw him beat three defenders before firing home with a low effort

The goal is his 8th in LaLiga this season, his 19th in all competitions this season with Vinicius netting two against Liverpool

Real Madrid responded with Dani Carvajal firing over from Vinicius’ cross. As always the Brazilian carried the most threat and he got his team level on 21 minutes with anoher brilliant individual goal. He cut in from the left and on his right foot and fired a shot through a crowd of four pink-shirted Espanyol defenders to make it 1-1.

Madrid’s tails were up now and there were several chances to go ahead. First Rodrygo cut in from the right but saw Fernando Pacheco block his shot at the near post. Then Toni Kroos shot over.

Vinicius’ wings were clipped shortly afterwards, not by Espanyol but by the referee. Jorge Figuerola booked the winger after a harmless looking foul that was barely worthy of the match official’s whistle – much less his card.

It’s been a difficult few weeks for Carlo Ancelotti’s side who haven’t won in three games across all competitions including a Clasico loss to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey last week

Eder Militao gave Real Madrid the lead before half-time, rising high to connect with a cross and head home for Madrid 

It was the centre-back’s third LaLiga goal this season, his fifth in all competitions and he ran to celebrate with the home fans

Match Facts 

Real Madrid starting XI (4-3-3): 1 Courtois, 2 Carvajal, 3  Militao, 6 Nacho, 12 Camavinga, 18 Tchouameni, 8 Kroos, 10 Modric, 15 Valverde, 20 Vinicius, 21 Rodrygo.

Substitutes: 26 Lopez, 13 Lunin, 11 Asensio, 19 Ceballos, 24 Diaz, 7 Hazard, 17 Lucas, 16 Odriozola, 39 Rodriguez, 22 Rudiger, 5 Vallejo.

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti 

Espanyol starting XI (4-4-2): 13 Pacheco, 4 Cabrera, 24 Gomez, 23 Montes, 2 Gil, 17 Branthwaite, 15 Gragera, 12 Vinicius Souza, Sanchez, 9 Joselu, 10 Darder.

Substitutes: 25 Fernendez, 1 Garcia, 5 Calero, 20 Exposito, 19 Gomez, 16 Lazo, 21 Melamed, 14 Olivan, 18 Pierre-Gabriel, 7 Puado, 6 Suarez, 22 Vidal. 

Coach: Jose Gragera 

Referee: Jorge Figueroa Vazquez  


Aurelien Tchouameni (left) showed his class proving a stunning outside-the-boot cross into Militao who put the hosts in front  

Marco Asensio (left) polished off the game scoring in the 93rd minute to secure the three points for Carlo Ancelotti’s side

It did not stop Vinicius creating the second Madrid goal although he played a minor part. He rolled the ball to Tchouameni whose brilliant cross with the outside of his left foot was headed in by Eder Militao to make it 2-1.

Once in front Real Madrid relaxed somewhat with their thoughts on the visit of Liverpool. Luka Modric was taken off with that game in mind but the changes also meant Marco Asensio could came and stake his claim for a place in the Champions League second leg.

He only had one chance and he buried it. Nacho carried the ball out from the back and threaded it through the middle for Asensio to run on to. The Spain forward swept it confidently past Pacheco and it was gane over. Madrid move six points behind Barcelona ahead of their game away at Athletic Bilbao tomorrow.

More importantly they go into the game against Liverpool feeling more like themselves after the post-Anfield blip that has blighted them in recent games.

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