Since that thumping victory against Mallorca, it seems, Real Madrid have lost the steam to a great extent. Villarreal stopped them, Sherrif shocked them and today the Los Blancos were left stunned by a spirited Espanyol.

After picking up their first win of the season last week with a 1-0 victory over Alaves, Espanyol were looking to record back-to-back home wins in La Liga for the first time since May 2019 as they continue to adjust to life back in the Spanish top-flight – they left the stadium smiling. The Los Blancos had been defeated.

Before today’s match, Espanyol have lost 104 times in their 172 meetings with Madrid in La Liga, the most of any side against a single opponent in the competition’s history. Madrid have also won in nine of their 11 visits to the RCDE Stadium. But not today!

Espanyol boss Vincente Moreno made two changes to his team from their 2-0 away defeat to Sevilla. Melendo and Gil replace Merida and Wu in the starting line-up. There were three changes to Madrid from their shock defeat to Sheriff in the Champions League – Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez featured in the starting XI.

The match went off to a feisty start as Kroos brought down Melendo near the halfway line. Pedrosa jinked down the left for Espanyol and Militao successfully earned a free-kick.

Karim Benzema forced a decent catch from Diego Lopez as Pedrosa’s back pass rolled straight through to Vinicius Junior who laid off for the Frenchman in the box.

Embarba went for goal from outside the box and forced Thibaut Courtois to make a smart save to stop it from finding the bottom right corner.

Camavinga tripped Gill in his own half. Madrid came forward again and Benzema rolled a tame shot into Diego Lopez’s arms from the centre of the box.

Espanyol increased pace with Embarba doing well to put the ball into the danger area from the flank as De Tomas received a cross and handed Espanyol the lead, rifling the ball home from close range.

Real Madrid were shaken and frustration chipped in as Camavinga was shown a yellow card for a sliding tackle on Bare. It wasn’t a pretty tackle and Bare stayed down to receive some treatment.

Espanyol had been solid for their half-time lead.

The hosts have unsettled Madrid with their energy and direct running and deservedly lead through De Tomas’ close-range strike. Madrid have had plenty of possession but not much penetration so far.

Carlo Ancelotti substituted Camavinga and brought on Rodrygo Goyes that brought Fede Valverde on the midfield and Rodrygo on the right-wing for better penetration.

Eder Militao arrives unmarked to the edge of the six-yard box to nod wide and that was as close as Madrid have come to scoring.

David Alaba advanced forward to link-up with the attack but Espanyol remained solid at the back.

Madrid were disappointed to give away another foul as Militao brought down De Tomas.

Espanyol took the free-kick quickly and Vidal raced past Nacho to lash the ball past Courtois at his near post.

The Los Blancos melted on the counter again. Their shape without the ball was poor and the backline lacked organization, which made them suffer.

Modric and Kroos were substituted with Casemiro and Luka Jovic coming in – but that move hardly helped Real Madrid.

Camavinga at the heart of the midfield in front of the defence, where Casemiro plays, did not produce results and neither could Valverde shield the defence after switching to midfield from right-wing after the break. It was understandable that Ancelotti was experimenting a bit given the wonderful record of Real Madrid on this venue – sadly, it backfired. Casemiro did come, but it was too late.

Darder was inches away from putting Espanyol 3-0 up!

Madrid over-committed men forward and the midfielder found himself one-on-one with Courtois.

The Madrid keeper rushed off his line to narrow the space and Darder dragged his shot just wide of the left-hand post!

Madrid had the ball in the net through Jovic but the goal was ruled out for offside. Both Benzema and Jovic were behind Espanyol’s defenders as Benzema held up the ball for Jovic to swivel and slot in from close range.

Madrid had a lifeline as Benzema received a pass from Jovic to dribble inside the box and smashed the ball into the bottom right corner. Espanyol were guilty of leaving themselves too open to Madrid’s counterattack.

Madrid’s another attack was broken down and Espanyol welcome the opportunity to race out. De Tomas took a cross down in the box but the hosts were not able to make the most of it.

Espanyol’s fans whistled as Madrid get ever closer to finding an equalizer. Eden Hazard – who came in for Vinicius – blasted home a lovely strike from Benzema’s layoff but the Madrid captain was just offside beforehand.

Espanyol’s victory lifted them to 12th in La Liga.

Moreno’s men were magnificent and should have no problems in staying up if they continue playing in this vein this season.

Madrid stay top of the league on goal difference but miss the chance to go three points clear of Atletico.

Espanyol would be delighted with the win, then, while Madrid will once again rue their lack of cutting edge having dominated a game.


Ancelotti has to get his team firing if this bumpy spell isn’t to become symbolic of their season.

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