Real Madrid topped La Liga with a sublime 3-0 home victory over Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu last night. The Special One’s troops opened the floodgates with a Cristiano Ronaldo first half penalty and Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema opened their season’s accounts in the second half.
Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid are a point over Valencia and he will be more happy with the performance than the results. The way the defence is organised is something for a few coaches to take notes. Their defensive lines and covering is so methodical that allow far less penetration from the attacks while pushing forward to support midfield.
The tension of the match was so high that both sides had players sent off. Pepe sent off after 60 minutes and Espanyol defender Ernesto Galan was also dismissed 3 minutes later for a crippling tackle on Ronaldo. Another Espanyol defender Juan Forlin was sent off for complaining about Benzema’s goal in the dying minutes.
Lass Diarra replaced Sami Khedira in defensive midfield as Madrid strikers got their goal scoring confidence back. Mesut Ozil was very always a thorn in the flesh for Espanyol. Happy days may well be back for Madrid, but Barcelona will not take this lying down. They will be looking their first league home win of the campaign on tonight when they host Sporting Gijon at Camp Nou. They will be trying to move from their seventh position without injured Messi for the next two league matches.
Spanish league results: Athletic Bilbao 3 – Real Mallorca 0, Osasuna 3 – Real Sociedad 1.
English League Cup third round results: Birmingham 3 – Milton Keynes Dons 1, Brentford 1 – Everton 1 (after full-time and extra-time, Brentford win 4-3 on penalties), Burnley 1 – Bolton 0, Millwall 1 – Ipswich 2, Peterborough 1 – Swansea 3, Portsmouth 1 – Leicester 2, Stoke 2 – Fulham 0, Sunderland 1 – West Ham 2, Wolverhampton 4 – Notts County 2