Espanyol 1-3 Real Madrid (Vinícius Júnior & Karim Benzema x2). Here is the immediate reaction to the action packed win. On the way: press conferences, player ratings and a ManagingMadrid post game podcast.
Real Madrid would be looking to make it four wins from four, as they travelled to Barcelona to visit Espanyol. The home side would struggle to add to their solitary point so far this season as Madrid fielded a strong team consisting of the usual favourites. With this being the fist game without Casemiro in a long time after the midfielder left for Manchester United last week - it was Aurélien Tchouaméni who would slot into his vacant space. Lucas Vázquez started at right-back ahead of Dani Carvajal. Karim Benzema captained the team.
Espanyol can be a hostile place to visit, and the home crowd were certainly on form creating a nervy atmosphere for the players. Madrid showed no signs of nerves however, and looked comfortable on the ball from the off. They found themselves ahead just after the ten minute mark, with Aurélien Tchouaméni being the architect. The Frenchman played a lovely one-two with Fede Valverde before feeding the ball to Vinícius Júnior inside the area to slot past the keeper. Karim Benzema and Vinícius came close to doubling the advantage with efforts towards goal well blocked and Espanyol had a couple of dangerous spells themselves. Vinícius could have had a hat-trick before half time as he blasted a glorious chance over the bar. The missed chances would come back to haunt Madrid - and it would turn out to be a case of different team, same curse for Joselu Mato as the Castilla graduate once again scored against his former side just before half time.
¡THIBAUT!— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) August 28, 2022
Espanyol would dominate the opening phase in terms of chance creation, and if it wasn’t for the terrific Thibaut Courtois they would have been scrambling to get back into the game. Benzema was the most active Real Madrid attacker after stinging the goalkeepers gloves with a decent effort, and firing a volley towards goal. Toni Kroos thought he had scored an accurate attempt, but a lurking Benzema got the faintest of touches from an offside position to kill the fun. The barraging run from Eduardo Camavinga in the build up to that chance was impressive. The pressure was continuing to build for Los Blancos, and as Espanyol sat back to hold on for a point the spaces in the final third became ever more difficult to find. It looked like it wasn’t going to come, but with Real Madrid there is always a way. Rodyrgo Goes received the ball out-wide before playing in a peach of a cross for that man Karim Benzema to tuck home to save his side yet again. The king almost had another before the final whistle as his header was poked just over the bar.
Real Madrid tied 1-1 in the 88th minute— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 28, 2022
Enter: Karim Benzema pic.twitter.com/jNizIk39Bi
There would be even more action after this as well, as Rodrygo seemingly added a third after Dani Ceballos pinched the ball from the keeper. The referee pulled it back for offside, however VAR then highlighted a foul from the Ceballos clash. The keeper was sent off, and an outfield player replaced him for the remaining seconds. Karim Benzema would step up to take the free-kick, a situation that even seasoned goalkeepers would shudder at. The Frenchman gave the stand-in no chance, unleashing a strike into the bottom corner to make it three. Finally, after twelve minutes of added time, the referee finally put a stop to the madness. Madrid came away with a comprehensive (in the end) 3-1 victory. What were your opinions on the game?