I am quite a calmed supporter. Aside from Clásicos or big Champions League days, I am usually quite confident about our team's options and don't get nervous about our team playing. Luckily enough, my work schedule allows me to watch all of our games, but sometimes I don't really have time to think about them until a few minutes prior to the kick-off.
Last Sunday, however, I have to admit that it was not the case. The Atlético-Barça 0-0 draw on Saturday had given us a good opportunity to put some pressure on the league leaders, and the game against Espanyol seemed crucial to me. I was really excited about the possibility of feeling that we still had good chances of winning the competition, but I am pretty sure that I would not have been so close to the edge if I had not planned to watch the match live at the Cornellà-El Prat stadium.
I would have liked to enjoy the game with all Real Madrid supporters, at the corner that is reserved for the fans of the visitor team, but in the end I could not, so I decided to buy a regular ticket. I don't like to be provocative, so I decided not to wear my white T-shirt and show off, but I have to tell that, from what I saw around, I would not have had any problem, since the crowds were absolutely respectful to all Real Madrid supporters. In fact, there are a lot of Espanyol fans who also support Real Madrid, mostly due to their rivalry with FC Barcelona.
When I entered the stadium, I got really impressed by its structure. It was not my first time there, since I had also attended the Espanyol-Atlético game, but I sat behind one goal that time and the view was quite different. It is a really modern stadium, opened in 2009, and I found it estetically amazing. I don't have any knowledge of architecture, so I decided to add a panoramic view of it so that you can get a good idea of what it looks like.
As you can observe, the stadium was packed, and I was really impressed by the atmosphere. The fans located behind one of the goals (the one with the big banner in the image above) were really supportive, and their chants and backing were passed on to the rest of the stands. In my opinion, this was one of the main reasons that made Espanyol control the first fifteen-twenty minutes of the game. They were really respectful to Real Madrid, and this is something that is not quite common in Spanish stadiums. There was barely no whistling or booing to any of our players, and it was not only until Pepe scored his goal that I could hear some chants trying to discourage our players. There were, on the other hand, many songs against Barcelona, which is a common practice in this stadium. According to the people sitting close to me, this was a camouflaged way of cheering for Real Madrid, although I disagree. I do not understand the need of paying attention to your big rival while you are supporting your team against a different one, and this is something that happens in all Spanish stadiums I have ever been to, but I think this is not the moment to go through this.
To finish, I want to talk a little bit about the way I felt the match. As I said earlier, I had been nervous the whole day, and it got really worse when the match started. The first part of the game made me feel really scared. Their pressure over Alonso and Modric was fantastic, and this made us not be able to build our attacks, and they even got a couple of good chances to score. The work of Jhon Córdoba during the whole match was remarkable, and the fans seemed quite surprised about it, like I was. I did not expect such a physical exhibition, and his duel with Ramos, who seems to be approaching a good condition again, really impressed me. The second half was quite better. I did not feel we were playing significantly better than before the break, but an increase on the intensity was quite clear, and the match was totally in our pocket. After the goal, I could relax a bit and enjoy the rest of the game, feeling that the 0-2 was closer than the 1-1. None of them arrived, so I headed back home with a smile on my face, hoping that next weekend we might even be able to lead the table again.