Real Madrid cruised into third place in LaLiga after Karim Benzema inspired Santiago Solari’s side to victory over Espanyol.
Karim Benzema scored twice during a rampant first-half display as 10-man Real Madrid moved into third place in LaLiga with a 4-2 victory at Espanyol.
Having lost 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, Madrid were quick to ensure they did not suffer a similar fate this time around – Benzema ending a three-match scoreless run before Sergio Ramos, who later went off injured, doubled the visitors’ tally with his 50th headed goal for Los Blancos.
Leo Baptistao hauled Espanyol back into the contest, but Benzema had the final say of a frantic opening 45 minutes when he slotted in on the stroke of half-time.
Gareth Bale’s goal three minutes after his introduction added further gloss, only for Raphael Varane’s red card to make things complicated, but though Roberto Rosales’ stunning volley set up a thrilling finale, Espanyol could not muster an unlikely comeback.
Madrid were ahead inside four minutes, Espanyol’s defence wilting as Luka Modric surged forward and forced Diego Lopez into action, with Benzema on hand to tuck home the rebound.
Espanyol found themselves further behind 11 minutes later, Ramos heading Modric’s pinpoint cross into the right-hand corner.
Madrid’s advantage was halved in the 25th minute, Baptistao thundering a strike into the roof of the net moments after drawing a fine stop out of Thibaut Courtois.
But Espanyol’s hard work was undone in first-half stoppage time – Benzema latching onto a loose ball to place a sublime finish into the bottom corner.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 27, 2019