Real Madrid maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday taking them top of the table.
- Real Madrid 1 Espanyol 0
- Perez (35′) denied by Courtois on the counter
- Asensio (41′) opens scoring with clinical strike
- Lopez keeps out Modric and Ramos
- Iglesias (65′) hits the crossbar with chip
Marco Asensio’s first-half goal was all that separated the two teams on the night, as Julen Lopetegui’s side battled to create many clear-cut chances against the hard-working Periquitos.
Espanyol defended extremely well in the first half to limit Real Madrid’s chances in the Spanish capital, while going close themselves on a couple of occasions.
The hosts threatened for the first time after just five minutes when Isco connected with Alvaro Odriozola’s cutback from the right, but directed his first-time shot narrowly wide of the right post from 14 yards out.
A counter-attack from the Catalan outfit on 14 minutes led to an opening for Pablo Piatti, who dragged his shot wide of the far post from 18 yards out after being played in on the left by Hernan Perez.
Didac Vila was allowed to carry the ball a long way down the left channel on the half-hour mark before drilling an effort wide of the right post from 25 yards out, while at the other end Casemiro saw his long-range strike deflected wide of the right post three minutes later and headed wide at the back post from the resulting corner.
The visitors broke upfield again on 35 minutes and Perez tested Thibaut Courtois with a low shot from 17 yards out after cutting onto his left foot, but Los Blancos finally breached their defence four minutes before half-time.
Luka Modric’s ball into the area deflected off two defenders into the path of Asensio, who fired a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner of the net from 10 yards out. The offside flag initially went up, but the goal was given after VAR intervened.
The first half came to a close with Nacho glancing a header wide of the right post from a free-kick on the left in added time.
Diego Lopez was quickly called into action in the second half as he parried Modric’s left-footed shot behind in the 48th minute, before a 20-yard curler from Isco on the left went just wide of the far post moments later.
A mistake from Sergio Ramos let in Borja Iglesias on 65 minutes after he kicked the ball straight into the striker, whose chip from the edge of the box came back off the crossbar with Courtois beaten.
Lopez then pulled off a fantastic save to tip Ramos’ header over the bar on 73 minutes from Isco’s fine cross on the left and Lucas Vazquez’s strike from 19 yards out was easier for the visiting keeper to deal with two minutes later.
Marcos Llorente could only fire straight at Lopez from 15 yards out after being played into space on the right by fellow substitute Mariano seven minutes from time, and the home fans endured a nervy finish as Espanyol applied late pressure.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) September 22, 2018