Ronaldo-Less Real Madrid Suffer Shock Defeat To Struggling Espanyol
Spanish LaLiga Report: Espanyol v Real Madrid 27 February 2018
Result: Espanyol 1-0 Real Madrid
Date: 27 February 2018
Venue: RCDE Stadium
Real Madrid missed the chance to close in on second spot in LaLiga after they suffered a shock 1-0 loss to struggling Espanyol on Tuesday evening.
Zinedine Zidane opted rest star forward Cristiano Roanldo for the encounter, as Gareth Bale led the attack with Karim Benzema relegated to the bench.
The visitors showed their intentions early on, with Bale nearly finding the opener after seven minutes with a header from Achraf Hakimi’s ball into the box but Diego Lopez got down to make a save.
Real went close again with a header from Raphael Varane after a corner kick in the 16th minute, but it sailed across the face of goal.
The hosts came with their first chance after Gerard Moreno managed to latch onto a poor decision by Keylor Navas to fire at goal, but the Costa Rican shot-stopper got down in time to spare his blushes in the 27th minute.
Bale’s genuine penalty appeal five minutes to the break was instantly waved away by referee Jose Sanchez.
Espanyol had a full go at Los Blancos in the second half, forcing them back in their own half as they launched attacks aplenty through Moreno.
Real though always looked threatening on the attack, especially on the break and Achraf was set free on the right but shot straight at Lopez.
Moreno came close again after picking up a cross from the right that sailed over the head of Varane, but Navas was equal to the task and made the save after 55 minutes.
The Navas-Moreno show continued after 77 minutes, with the goalkeeper standing firm once again to deny the Spaniard from a header.
Two minutes later, Sergio Garcia let rip from outside the box but his attempt could only find the side netting.
For the umpteenth time, Moreno looked to break the deadlock after cutting in from the right but failed to find the far post in the 88th minute.
Moreno finally got his just deserve on the stroke of added time with a first-time volley on the turf from Garcia’s cross to seal an important win for Espanyol.