Espanyol vs Real Madrid:-Karim Benzema struck twice late on to give Real Madrid a 3-1 win over Espanyol and maintain the Spanish champions’ 100 per cent start to the La Liga season.
Real Madrid took the lead after just 12 minutes when Vinicius Junior slotted home a composed finish following a through ball by Aurelien Tchouameni. At that point, the away team looked to be in control of the contest.
However, Espanyol grew as the first half progressed and grabbed an equaliser one minute before half-time when Joselu finished at the second attempt after a save by Thibaut Courtois had bounced back into his path.
The home team fought hard and had opportunities to score a second, but it was Real Madrid who claimed all three points as their quality shone through in the end.
Benzema volleyed home with just two minutes remaining after an excellent cross to the back post by Rodrygo before the French striker scored a third for Real Madrid against an Espanyol team that was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time due to the red card shown to Benjamin Lecomte.
Benzema makes the difference
Until the 88th minute, this hadn’t been the most fruitful match for Benzema. Opportunities had been few and far between for the Real Madrid striker and he had been denied by Lecomte on the odd occasion he’d had a sight of goal. Benzema still managed to make the difference for his team, though.
Benzema has now scored 28 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid in 2022. No player in any of European football’s big five leagues has scored more than the Frenchman, underlining the level at which he is operating right now. Even when he is below par, as he was for much of this match, he can be the one who makes the biggest contribution.
Camavinga and Tchouameni contributing
Many were surprised by Real Madrid’s decision to allow Casemiro to leave the club for Manchester United given the Brazilian’s importance to their midfield unit, but Eduardo Camavinga and Tchouameni are already stepping up in his absence. They both made major contributions in this match for the Spanish champions.
Tchouameni registered the assist for Vinicius’ opener, showing composure on the edge of the box when it would have been easy to lash at the ball or make a rash decision. Camavinga then came off the bench in the second half to give Real Madrid greater drive and energy on the ball.
Lecomte’s weaknesses exposed
Lecomte might have made a number of saves, but the Espanyol goalkeeper was a weakness that Real Madrid ultimately exposed. The 31-year-old is uncomfortable coming off his line and this contributed to the red card flashed in his direction. Real Madrid had too much pace in the attacking third for Lecomte to handle.
The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper isn’t comfortable on the ball either and this also caused some problems for Lecomte and Espanyol. Diego Martinez wants his team to play a proactive, possession-heavy game, but this is going to be difficult with their new number one.
Espanyol vs. Real Madrid final result
REA – Vinicius Junior – 12 mins.
ESP – Joselu – 44 mins.
REA – Karim Benzema – 88 mins
REA – Karim Benzema – 90+10 mins