Real Madrid Vs Espanyol, Liga BBVA 2013-2014: 3-1 Win To Say Goodbye To La Liga

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

With La Liga already lost, this match unfortunately had no meaning for Real Madrid. The boys in white at least close the year with a win but not without some bad news, as injuries keep bothering this team.

This was a meaningless match, unfortunately, and to make things even sadder, it didn't start well for Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo, who was supposed to start again against Espanyol, didn't feel comfortable during warmups and was taken off the starting lineup. At least Gareth Bale and Ángel Di María were back in the starting lineup. Carlo Ancelotti decided to start both Asier Illarramendi and Sami Khedira. Both players had a final chance to impress the Italian coach and claim Xabi Alonso's spot for the Champions League final.

The start of the game (and the massive amount of empty seats) just showed what kind of game this was: an irrelevant one. Karim Benzema still had a great chance to open the score past the 10th minute on a good cross by Marcelo, but his header went over the goal.

To be fair, Real Madrid looked a lot more interested in this game than Espanyol. They were fighting a lot harder for each ball and while that wasn't translating into tons of chances, Los Blancos were slowly creating danger, especially through Marcelo and Di María on the sides.

Sergio Ramos had a fantastic opportunity to keep his recent scoring streak alive at the 20th after a lucky bounce inside the box on a corner kick but Casilla made a good save. Casilla had to intervene once more at the 29th, this time on a shot by Benzema, who got past a couple defenders inside the box but the GK made another fantastic save.

Casilla was having a pretty intense first half. Casillas, on the other hand, was probably extremely bored. Even on Espanyol's best (and only) chance of the first 45 minutes, Casillas couldn't do a thing, as the shot was deflected, going wide left.

To start the second half, Álvaro Arbeloa jumped in for Dani Carvajal.

It took Real Madrid seven minutes in the second half to challenge Casilla again. This time it was Di María, with a sweet volley that went a bit wide. Casilla was now even stopping deep balls coming out of his own box. He was doing it all.

At the 63rd, Casilla finally got beat. Bale didn't waste a fantastic pass by Benzema, placing his shot at the base of the post to make it 1-0.

Just minutes later, Espanyol had a couple great chances to tie it but Simao and Pizzi weren't accurate inside Madrid's box. The Periquitos were looking a lot better after Bale's goal.

The game took a fun turn and presented chances for both teams but neither was able to score. That changed in the 85th minute after a great counter orchestrated by Ramos. Di María then crossed it to find a wide open Morata who only needed to push the ball to make it 2-0.

With Real Madrid's defensive mess, Pizzi was able to score one for Espanyol. He was wide open inside the box once again and this time he didn't waste it. They joy didn't last very long for the Catalans, as Morata scored his second goal right before the end of the game. Great play and effort by both Di María and Morata. 3-1.

And that was it.

The result is meaningless, but there are some things that are worth mentioning. First of all, Ángel Di María didn't care if this game had any meaning or not. He was as intense as he always is.

Illarramendi was a lot better today. He wasn't impressive by any means, but it was still a solid performance by Illarra. Same could be said about Khedira. It could apply to Morata as well, but he will hardly be a starter next week against Atlético.

The injuries are getting more and more dramatic. First Cristiano Ronaldo during warm-ups and then Benzema in the second half. This medical staff is not looking good right now. Will they be ready for the Champions League final? No one will blame you if you are a bit scared.

La Liga is now over. Time for the final!

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