La Liga Highlights: Casemiro strike sends Real Madrid two points clear at the top

Catch all the highlights of the La Liga match between Espanyol and Real Madrid at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday.

Casemiro (Right) put Real Madrid ahead with a close-range finish against Espanyol.   -  reuters

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's highlights of the  La Liga match between Espanyol and Real Madrid at the RCDE Stadium.

 

FULL-TIME: ESPANYOL 0-1 REAL MADRID
 

90+2' Carvajal is down on the pitch after clattering into Calleri as the referee says play on. Vinicius is unable to hold on to the ball as Pedrosa clears it away from the edge of the box.

88' The home team is minutes away from what could its be first relegation from the Premiera Division since 1993. The Barcelona-based club has had its chances in this match but clearly lacked quality in the final third.

86' Espanyol wins a free kick on the left as Roca whips in a dangerous ball. Cabrera misses the ball by few inches as Real holds on to its slender lead.

84' Courtois is called into action after Cabrera is put through to the goal by Calleri. The Belgian reaches to the ball a moment earlier than the striker as Real breathes easy. Its not over yet at the RCDE Stadium.

81' Real breaks away through Vinicius, Benzema and Rodrygo. Rodrygo goes for the near post but Pedrosa puts in a strong challenge to keep out the attempt.

78' De Tomas tries to put Calleri through to the goal but is hauled off the ball by Casemiro.

75' Melamed finds Wu Lei free on the right wing but Ramos positions himself perfectly to steal the ball away from the striker. Espanyol has not threatened in the second half so far but Real has remained solid at the back to prevent any danger.

73' David Lopez gets hold of the ball in the final third and goes for a long-ranger. Courtois gets low to collect the ball of half-volley.

71' Vinicius exchanges passes with Benzema and Carvajal and sprints down on the right flank but is taken off the ball by Calleri.

68' Dani Carvajal is down on the pitch after Pedrosa clipped him from behind. The full-back writhes in agony as the referee stops the play. Rufete makes a double change as he sends in Nico Melamed and Jonathan Calleri for Darder and Embarba.

65' SAVE! Rodrygo's careless challenge outside the penalty area wins Espanyol a free kick. Tomas' kick gets a wicked deflection off Marcelo as Curtois makes a good save to keep it out.

63' Hazard and Isco are taken off by Zidane as they make way for Rodrygo and Vinicus Jr.

60' Varane takes the ball off Tomas in the final third as Real breaks away through Marcelo on the left. The Brazilian's cross into the box is cleared away by Cabrera.

58' Hazard reaches the byline after being played in by Benzema and wins a corner. Kroos' corner delivery is dealt well by the home defence.

55' Kroos gets hold of the ball on the right and tries to curls it into the centre of the goal but there was too much power behind his shot.

53' Bernardo brings down Hazard in a dangerous position as Kroos stands over the set-piece. The German plays it to Marcelo who holds it up for Casemiro to blast his shot into the Espanyol wall. 

50 SHOT! Eden Hazard spots Benzema lurking at the far post and sends in a pin-point cross which the Frenchman hits on the volley. Diego Lopez closes off the angle quickly to block the attempt.

48' Espanyol manages to get a shot away through Wu Lei after receiving a pass from Pedrose but Courtois has no problem dealing with it.

46' Second half begins! Javier Pedrosa comes on as a substitute for the second half as Espanyol coach Franciso Rufete takes off Didac.

HALF-TIME: ESPANYOL 0-1 REAL MADRID

45+1' GOAL REAL MADRID! Brilliant stuff from Benzema. The Frenchman brings down a pass from Eamos from long free kick from Marcelo. He puts Casemiro through to the goal with a cheeky backheel through Cabrera's legs. The Brazilian slides in to poke the ball home from close range and put the visitor ahead.

44' TRIPLE SAVE! Isco's cross into the box sends the home defence into a frenzy. Benzema's shot is saved by Diego Lopez saves Hazard's rebound which falls for Hazard who's stinging drive is saved again from going in. Superb stuff from the goalkeeper.

41' Isco loses possession in the centre as Tomas tries to get past Carvajal. The right-back wins back the ball as Real breaks upfield at full throttle. Isco is brought down by Didac on the right but the referee says play on.

38' Kroos fails to check Marcelo's overlap as he plays a ball into the space on the left side. The Brazilian gives up the chase and Espanyol gets a goal kick.

35' Shot! Benzema gets a shot on target after being receiving a pass from Hazard on the left side. Real wins two back to back corners but is unable to get close to the goal.

31' The players break for refreshments as Zidane has an animated discussion with Ramos on the touchline. Los Blancos have lacked sting in the final third so far.

29' So far the home team has looked solid at the back with Benzema unable to make any runs into the box. Hazard has looked sluggish so far struggling to get past his markers. The visitor's best chance was a Sergio Ramos' glanced header from close range in the opening minutes.

27' Espanyol posing Real Madrid all kinds of problem on the break. Wu Lei races away through the centre but runs into Ramos on the edge of the box. The referee waves off the forward's claim for a free kick.

24' Sensational ball from Casemiro. The Brazilian sends a weighted pass over the Espanyol defence to Benzema but Victor Gomez is in place to deal with the long ball.

21' The referee blows the whistle to mark the 21st minute as applause echoes from the stands celebrating the life of former captain Dani Jarque who tragically passed away due to heart attack in 2009. It has been a tradition followed by the Espanyol faithful for over a decade at every home game.

20' SAVE! Ramos gives away a free kick in a dangerous position as Embarba curls it into the near corner. However, Courtois is in the right position to punch it away to safety.

18' The home team is unable to get the ball out of its half as Isco and Valverde have closed out the ball passage on the right flank.

15' A dangerous cross into the box by Valverde has Espanyol defence scrambling for a clearance. Cabrera's head clearance falls inside the box as Victor Gomez mops up the loose ball before Hazard pounces on it.

12' Real has a spell of possession as Marcelo has a go at the goal only to be deflected for a corner by Cabrera. Casemiro is left unmarked at the far post as he gets a head to Kroos' delivery but misses the goal by a distance.

9' MISS! Isco wins a free kick for Real in a dangerous area after David Lopez goes for a clumsy challenge. Kroos floats in a dangerous ball into the far post as Casemiro volleys it towards Ramos who deflects it over the bar. Casemiro's speed on the ball has left the Madrid captain reeling for a moment after that attempt.

6' Espanyol breaks away once again as Embarba, Darder and Tomas combine in the final third to put Wu Lei free at the far post. However, the Chinese international doesn't pull the trigger despite having enough room to shoot and Real win back the ball.

3' Close! A superb counter attack puts the Real defence at sea as Wu Lei gets around Ramos and squares a pass towards the far post. Carvajal puts in a vital block to avert the danger. Great start by the host.

1' We are underway! Espanyol wastes no time as Varane's foul on Embara wins a free kick for Espanyol. Embara's delivery is poor as it sails over the crossbar.

The players take to the pitch as Zinedine Zidane looks on nervously.

  • Can Real take advantage of Barca slip? Barcelona failed to win at Celta Vigo for the fifth year running giving Zinedine Zidane's the chance to establish a two-point lead at the top with six matches remaining. The Frenchman has made changes across the pitch benched Odriozola, Gareth Bale, Vinicus Jr for Daniel Carvajal, Isco, Eden Hazard and Federico Valverde while Luka Modric is suspended for the tie.

Line-ups:

Espanyol (3-4-3): Diego Lopez; Gomez, Bernardo, Cabrera; Didac, Embarba, David Lopez, Roca; Darder, Wu Lei, Tomas

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Isco; Hazard, Benzema, Valverde

READ: The effect of COVID-19 on sports academies and coaches

  • Form Guide: Espanyol - DLLDW, Real Madrid- DWWWW
  • What's at stake: Real Madrid will be looking to open up a two-point lead over Barcelona with 6 matches to go after the defending champion was held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo. A win would take Madrid back to top while a draw would see it remain above Barcelona on account of superior goal difference. Espanyol, which is at the bottom of the table, could leap-frog Leganes and Mallorca to 18th. A draw could see the Barcelona-based side move up a place.

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  • The live streaming of Espanyol vs Real Madrid will begin at 1.30 am (IST) Monday on La-Liga's official Facebook page.