La Liga Match Review: Espanyol vs Real Madrid 0

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5 Talking Points of Espanyol V Real Madrid Match

Real Madrid conceded a 93rd-minute goal from Gerard Moreno, as the defending champions of Spain suffered a loss against Espanyol at RCDE stadium on Tuesday. Talk Sports 24×7 analyses the game and points out five key talking points.

Real Madrid’s winning streak ended

Zinedine Zidane’s men were unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions. Since the 2-1 defeat against Leganes in the 2nd leg of quarter-final of Copa del Rey, Real Madrid have won all their games except the 2-2 away draw against Levante. The brief run of good form saw the Los Blancos move from 4th position to 3rd in the league table and take an advantage against PSG in the Champions League. However, the Catalan side proved to be too stubborn for the capital club, as they have so often been against the top sides in this season including Barcelona and Atlético.

Lack-lustre midfield

Real Madrid are without the services of Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos who are sidelined due to injury. The absence of the midfield pair implies that the supremacy in midfield is restrained. The absence of Casemiro further reduced option for Zidane. The team lacked ideas, and structure. The Spanish trio of Lucas Vázquez, Marco Asensio and Isco were average. The double pivot of Mateo Kovačić and Marcos Llorente was passable but not enough to win it for Madrid. “We were lacking a little bit in all departments. We started very well in the first half and we had chances but didn’t score. We didn’t find our style of play or any depth in the second half,” Zidane said. “We didn’t deserve to lose.”

 

Gareth Bale’s performance

The Welshman may be on his way out of Bernabéu at the end of the season but was given the duties to lead the front line in absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Bale went close with a point-blank header early on in the first half but otherwise had a very disappointing evening at the Cornellà-El Prat.

Keylor Navas becoming rock solid

Amidst all the recent glories and achievements of Real Madrid, the Costa Rican international’s contribution has often been overlooked. Real Madrid are linked with David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois, but Keylor Navas deserves more respect than he usually receives. The shot-stopper has been great this season, often preventing clear goal-conceding opportunities behind a jittery backline. Espanyol arguably had the better of the chances, going close on three occasions through Moreno, but Navas was quick of his line and had no blame in Espanyol’s goal. “The circumstances aren’t in our favour,” said Navas after the full-time whistle. “It’s logical that we are sad, as we wanted to win. We need to show character to move forward.”

Overall stats

Real Madrid expectedly dominated the possession with 61.6% but had fewer shots (12) than Espanyol (16). Espanyol also leads the tally of shots on target with 7 compared to Real’s 5 shots. Real Madrid had 85.3% passing but had only 6 key passes while the Catalan side had 77.2% passing with 13 key passes.