Spanish La Liga
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Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol: Hosts move top of La Liga after laboured win

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio points to the sky after scoring against Espanyol
Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Espanyol

Real Madrid moved top of La Liga after Marco Asensio's VAR-awarded strike proved enough to beat Espanyol.

Asensio drilled in a low shot just before the break when Luka Modric's effort deflected into his path, with the goal given after a lengthy review.

Borja Iglesias hit the crossbar for the spirited visitors with a deft chip.

Former Real keeper Diego Lopez made a fine save to deny Sergio Ramos late on in an otherwise stilted performance by the hosts at the Bernabeu.

Victory takes Julen Lopetegui's side above rivals Barcelona, who can retake the top spot with a draw or victory against Girona on Sunday.

Espanyol drop to sixth following Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win over Getafe earlier on Saturday.

Isco and Asensio highlight new era

Real made sure of victory with a functional rather than fluent performance, maintaining their unbeaten league start under new boss Lopetegui.

Isco and Asensio once again showed how vital they will be to the new era at the Bernabeu after the departure of talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and three-time Champions League-winning manager Zinedine Zidane over the summer, the Spain pair central to most of their side's best moves.

Asensio was unmarked when Modric's blocked strike fell to him and clinically found the far bottom corner as Espanyol appealed for offside.

Referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz consulted VAR and after a long delay awarded the goal, with replays showing Asesnio was clearly onside, as the midfielder appeared to joke about the wait with his celebration, pointing to his wrist.

Isco then created Real's best chance in the latter stages, curving an immaculate cross with the outside of his right foot, only for Lopez to tip the onrushing Ramos' header over the bar.

The lack of fluency could also be down to the hosts making five changes from the side that beat Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Gareth Bale an unused substitute.

Espanyol fail to exploit shaky Real defence

While right-back Alvaro Odriozola made a largely assured debut, Real's defence as a whole was suspect at times but Espanyol failed to take advantage.

Pablo Piatti shot just wide after Real were slow to react to a sweeping Espanyol counter, before former Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois saved from Hernan Perez.

After the interval, Ramos was caught dallying in possession on the edge of his own area, with Iglesias robbing him off the ball and beating Courtois with an exquisite lob only to see it ricochet back off the bar.

Despite that warning, Ramos continued to streak forward at will, with Casemiro forced to race back and cover on several occasions. The experienced Spaniard could have cost his side the win, had the visitors been more clinical with their final ball.


Real Madrid

Formation 4-3-3

  • 25Courtois
  • 19Odriozola
  • 5Varane
  • 4Ramos
  • 6NachoBooked at 6mins
  • 10Modric
  • 14CasemiroBooked at 77mins
  • 24CeballosSubstituted forVázquezat 63'minutes
  • 22IscoSubstituted forLlorenteat 79'minutes
  • 9BenzemaSubstituted forMarianoat 60'minutes
  • 20Asensio


  • 1Navas
  • 7Mariano
  • 11Bale
  • 12Marcelo
  • 15Valverde
  • 17Vázquez
  • 18Llorente


Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 13López
  • 16López RodríguezBooked at 45mins
  • 5Gomes Pereira
  • 22Hermoso
  • 12Vilá
  • 21RocaBooked at 26mins
  • 17PérezSubstituted forGarcíaat 70'minutes
  • 10DarderSubstituted forSánchezat 55'minutes
  • 23Granero
  • 19PiattiSubstituted forBaptistaoat 55'minutes
  • 7Iglesias


  • 1Jiménez
  • 4Sánchez
  • 6Duarte
  • 8Rosales
  • 9García
  • 11Baptistao
  • 14Melendo
Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

Match Stats

Home TeamReal MadridAway TeamEspanyol
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Real Madrid 1, Espanyol 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Real Madrid 1, Espanyol 0.

  3. Post update

    Luka Modric (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol).

  5. Post update

    Foul by Marcos Llorente (Real Madrid).

  6. Post update

    Javi López (Espanyol) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Hand ball by Esteban Granero (Espanyol).

  8. Post update

    Casemiro (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Dídac Vilá (Espanyol).

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Marcos Llorente (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mariano.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Espanyol. Conceded by Sergio Ramos.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leo Baptistao (Espanyol) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Borja Iglesias.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marco Asensio (Real Madrid) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Mariano.

  14. Post update

    Luka Modric (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Leo Baptistao (Espanyol).

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Javi López (Espanyol) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Esteban Granero following a corner.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Real Madrid. Marcos Llorente replaces Isco.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Espanyol. Conceded by Raphael Varane.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Esteban Granero (Espanyol) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  20. Booking

    Casemiro (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.


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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 22nd September 2018

As It Stood

1Real Madrid5410123913
4Celta Vigo522110828
5Atl Madrid52215418
7Real Sociedad52127707
11Ath Bilbao31205415
12Real Betis412113-25
17Real Valladolid503235-23
19Rayo Vallecano4103310-73
View full Spanish La Liga table

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