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Played
January 12, 2014 7:00 PM WAT
Estadi Cornellà-El Prat — Cornella de Llobregat
Referee:‬ José Teixeira‎
Attendance:‬ 32131‎
 
 
Pepe 55′
Top of the Match
Luka Modric
Luka Modric
Real Madrid CF
Luka Modric
Luka Modric
Real Madrid CF
Flop of the Match
Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale
Real Madrid CF
Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid CF

Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid: Pepe draws Los Blancos to within three points of Barcelona & Atletico

The centre-half headed home a second-half free kick from Luka Modric to drag Carlo Ancelotti's men right back into the title race

RAUL RODRIGUEZ KARIM BENZEMA ESPANYOL REAL MADRID LA LIGA 01122014
Getty Images
Pepe was Real Madrid's unlikely hero as his goal saw the gap at the top of La Liga cut to three points with a 1-0 win over Espanyol.

With Barcelona and Atletico Madrid drawing on Saturday the pressure was on Carlo Ancelotti's side to move within striking distance of the top two against a side they have not lost to since 2007.

The visitors struggled to deal with that pressure in the opening half but finally broke the deadlock in the 55th minute as Portugal defender Pepe rose unmarked to head home his third league goal of the season.

Mid-table Espanyol had executed Javier Aguirre's plans perfectly in the first half and restricted Madrid to shots from the edge of the area that Kiko Casilla was able to deal with.

Despite the goal Madrid were still far from their fluent best but they had enough to secure the victory and extend Aguirre's winless run against them to 10 games in the league.

Ancelotti made just one change from Madrid's last league outing, as Gareth Bale replaced Isco, the Wales international playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria in support of Karim Benzema.

The hosts, who made six changes, started brightly but were unable to test Diego Lopez before Madrid got into their stride and nearly opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

Di Maria delivered a tempting cross into the penalty area where Benzema swivelled to volley towards the target, but the ball flew just wide of Casillas' goal.

Espanyol were not intimidated by their illustrious opponents and went close through Jhon Cordoba, but the striker fired wide after skipping past two Madrid challenges.

Ronaldo, who had been fairly quiet in the opening stages, twice went close to breaking the deadlock just after the half hour.

His first effort, a swerving shot in the 32nd minute, was punched clear by Casilla and the keeper saved a free kick from the Portugal international with his feet four minutes later.

After another 10 minutes of frustration for the visitors at the start of the second half, Pepe raised their spirits with a towering header from a Luka Modric cross to give Madrid the lead.

Pepe's central defensive partner Sergio Ramos nearly doubled the lead in the 67th minute, but his header from a Daniel Carvajal cross was straight at Casilla.

Casilla thwarted Ronaldo and Benzema in the closing stages as Real went in search of a second, but one proved enough to extend their winning run to five matches in all competitions.


Espanyol

13
Kiko Casilla
Goalkeeper
4.00
18
Fuentes
Defender
3.00
3
3.00
15
Héctor Moreno
Defender
2.50
19
3.00
22
Alex Fernández
Midfielder
65′
3.00
4
3.00
25
Gabriel Torje
Midfielder
58′ 65′
3.00
16
3.00
24
Jhon Córdoba
Striker
83′
3.00
8
Stuani
Striker
84′
3.00

Real Madrid CF

3.00
25
3.50
15
3.50
12
Marcelo
Defender
4.00
3
Pepe
Defender
55′
3.00
4
3.00
22
2.00
11
Gareth Bale
Midfielder
76′
4.00
19
Luka Modric
Midfielder
12′ 55′
3.50
14
Xabi Alonso
Midfielder
3.00
9
3.00
7

Substitutes

1
Germán
Goalkeeper
 - 
6
Sidnei
Defender
 - 
11
 - 
23
Abraham
Midfielder
 - 
20
Simão
Midfielder
65′
3.00
12
Lanzarote
Striker
65′
2.50
9
Pizzi
Striker
84′
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
20
 - 
17
Arbeloa
Defender
91′
 - 
24
 - 
1
Iker Casillas
Goalkeeper
 - 
18
 - 
21
Morata
Striker
 - 
23
Isco
Midfielder

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atl. Madrid
27 5
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
Striker
Barcelona
26 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Striker
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
Striker
Barcelona
17 0