Karim Benzema rescues Real Madrid at Espanyol as Aurelien Tchouameni lessens loss of Casemiro


Two goals from Karim Benzema in the 88th and 100th minutes encouraged Real Madrid to a late 3-1 win over Espanyol on Sunday night. Vinicius Junior scored the first goal for the visitors, before Joselo equalized.

Report: Real Madrid – Espanyol | La Liga table | Upcoming matches

The victory puts Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table, while Barcelona are two points behind in third place.

jump to: Player ratings | Best/Worst Performer | Highlights and Highlights | Post-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming matches

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1. Looking at the Chomini House

This was another match – the second in a row – in which Aurelien Chuamini looked like a worthy successor to Casemiro in Real Madrid’s midfield. Indeed, his assist in the opening match – a clever pass through the ball that kept Vinicius away from goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte – was a sign that Chuamini is indeed an upgrade when it comes to offensive contributions.

They occupy the same position in the team – it was the first time that Chwamini had started alongside both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric – but the youngster was more careful and quicker to advance. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that much.

“He goes into the box,” the Real Madrid coach said last week. “I wouldn’t tell him to play like Casemiro.”

Chuamini’s pass completion was also exceptional here, with a 94%.

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Like the rest of the squad, he found the second half more difficult as Espanyol increased his tempo, but early signs are good. Casemiro hasn’t been missed yet.

2. Defensive switching causes uncertainty

Ancelotti was clear that central defense duo David Alaba and Eder Militao, two-time winners last year, would remain the number one choice as this campaign took off. That left outstanding summer signing Antonio Rudiger having to do it so far with some unexpected head-turning in full-back, and a start alongside Nacho in a rotating squad on opening day.

Both Ancelotti and Alaba said that the Austria international will continue in the middle except in exceptional circumstances, so it was surprising here to see Rudiger alongside Militao, and Alaba moved to the left-back position.

The call looked suspicious when Rudiger and Militao were caught with a goal for Joselu. The lack of combined playing time was evident when Rudiger stepped up while Militao played for Joselo, and both failed to respond when Joselo’s initial effort returned to him.

Having three defenders of this quality is a luxury, but this is one area of ​​the field where consistency in selection is essential to allow a reliable and error-free partnership to flourish.

Ancelotti has some tough decisions to make.

3. Rodrygo’s effect on the seat shows the depth

When Real Madrid struggled here with a 1-1 second-half draw, Ancelotti switched to the Champions League return formula from last season: he called on Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo to add energy and quality off the bench.

Few teams have the luxury of being able to introduce alternatives of this caliber. Camavinga’s all-around style is best suited to deploy in this kind of context, while Rodrygo’s ability to make decisive tackles from limited playing time – as he did massively in Europe last season – is hugely impressive.

A cross pass in the 88th minute for Benzema’s victory was a moment of quality and accuracy in a frantic second half, and a goal was ruled out for offside in extra time as well. Ancelotti said on Saturday that Rodrygo would play a “more important role” this year and would appear more often from the start.

At the moment, he is the perfect alternative when Real Madrid are chasing the winner.

Player ratings

Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois 7; Lucas Vazquez 6, Eder Militao 6, Antonio Rudiger 6, David Alaba 6; Aurelien Chuamini 8, Toni Kroos 7, Luka Modric 6; Federico Valverde 5, Vinicius Junior 8, Karim Benzema 8.

Subs: Eduardo Camavinga 7, Rodrygo 8, Dani Ceballos 7, Dani Carvajal 6.

Espanol: Benjamin Lecomte 5; Oscar Gil 6, Fernando Calero 7, Leandro Cabrera 7, Brian Olivan 6; Vinicius Souza 7, Ruben Sanchez 7, Edo Exposito 7, Serge Darder 6, Javier Boadu 6; Joselo 8.

Subs: Kiddy Barry 6, Nicholas Melamed 6, Danny Gomez 6.

Best and worst performer

Best: Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

He started quietly but progressed into the match, scoring two big goals in the second half to give Madrid victory at a ground they lost last season.

Worst: Benjamin Lecomte, Espanyol

Embarrassed by his late red card that left poor defender Leandro Cabrera having to don goalkeeper gloves – with Espanyol using all their substitutes – to contest a penalty from Benzema.

Highlights and Highlights

Just look at what this Josillo equivalent means.

You’ve done your traditional jog and scream, with some heavy arm pumping. This is followed by a double knee slide, which instantly pops up and transitions seamlessly into a single stroke of air. Then afterwards the cold stare at the crowd, allowing his teammates to embrace it. After moving the seats and the crowd, our view returns to Joselu, who sends a kiss to the camera before a final fist pump and an emphatic growl. The celebration concluded with a sincere kiss to his supporters.

Of course, none of that matters, because of this guy.

After the match: What the managers said, the players said

“It’s normal to suffer, especially when you’re out and about,” Cross said. “We controlled the game really well until they scored. After that it is normal to suffer. At the end of the day you can see that they are tired. It is not easy to win away from home and we did it three times. [so far this season] So we are happy.”

“We started well, we were in control of the match, they were only dangerous with set-kicks,” Courtois said. “Then without any midfield game, I made a save, then another half in midfield, I saved but Joselu scored. The second half was more even, they had some chances but in the end there was some magic from Rodrygo and Karim… they had it. Some serious chances in the second half, at one point I was afraid we’d equalise, but you have to keep believing.”

Key Statistics (Provided by ESPN Statistics and Information)

Real Madrid consolidated their unbeaten streak when they scored their first La Liga goals, up to 35 matches, the most in the league.

Joselo’s goal was his seventh in nine La Liga matches against Real Madrid. Unbelievably , Los Blancos It is the team that has scored the most against him in the league.

next one

Real Madrid: Los Blancos Real Betis hosts on Saturday, September 3 at 10:15 AM ET (Live on ESPN+), then Mallorca hosts FC Mallorca at 3 PM ET on September 10.

Espanol: Los Periquitos Head to Bilbao on Sunday 4th September at 10:15am ET (Live on ESPN+) and then host Seville at 10:15am ET on 10th September.


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