Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid got the better of Espanyol at Cornell El-Prat, with a narrow win despite a slippy performance. Karim Benzema was again the highlight of the game, just as he has been since the LaLiga restart mid-June. Although the France international failed to make it to the score sheet this time around, his impact could not be negated, having assisted the only goal of the match, in a sensational way.
Real Madrid had a tough start away from home against a team that is placed last on the LaLiga table. Zinedine Zidane's men were caught off the mark on several occasions, with the Espanyol forwards attempting counterattacks. However, Thibaut Courtois' splendid form came handy for Los Blancos during a match that could put Sergio Ramos-led Real Madrid on the top of the LaLiga standings.
Besides, Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez performed exceptionally well, denying Los Blancos on several occasions. However, the Madrid outfit finally broke the deadlock in the injury time of the first half when Casemiro scored the only goal of the match from a close-range finish. However, for a change, it was the assist that got more attention than the goal. Benzema was back in his groove, proving Zidane right for picking him ahead of the likes of Luka Jovic and Mariano, always. The striker provided a sublime backheel pass to Casemiro, who was looming in the Espanyol area.
The second half failed to produce any favourable results for Espanyol despite several attempts to equalise at home. Karim Benzema has now bagged 10 assists across all competitions this season, seven particularly in LaLiga. He has also scored 17 goals in LaLiga while netting 22 goals including the Champions League and Copa del Rey.
Despite Real Madrid's victory against Espanyol, their opponents did not let Zinedine Zidane get away with three points easily. Stats suggest that Espanyol had five shots in the game, with three on target. On the other hand, Real Madrid managed six shots throughout the 90 minutes but could bag only two on target. The defence was caught off guard on several occasions and it appears that a hectic schedule seems to have taken a toll on players' performance.
The victory against Espanyol takes Real Madrid's tally to 71 points on LaLiga standings. Los Blancos now have a two-point lead over Barcelona after the Catalan giants were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo. Real Madrid will next play Getafe on Thursday (Friday according to IST).