Match Recap: Real Madrid 2 – 0 Espanyol

20 Feb

bale-celebrates

The Barcelona club came to the Bernabeu to see if they could trip us up. Though, I’m pretty sure they’d almost rather Los Blancos win the league than Barcelona.

The big news was the return of Gareth Bale! He didn’t start but he was on the bench and that was a big deal! I’ve been wondering if we should have been calling his recovery “How To Train Your Dragon: The Fight for Los Blancos”

Pre-Match Social Media:

The Mothership posted this video of our players warming up, which they don’t often do

Starting Lineups:

Real Madrid: Kiko Casilla; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Nacho; Mateo Kovacic, Isco, Toni Kroos; Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo

Espanyol: Diego Lopez; Diego Reyes, David Lopez, Oscar Duarte, Aaron Martin; Javi Fuego, Pape Diop; Jose Antonio Reyes, Jose Manuel Jurado, Pablo Piatti; Gerard

starters

Espanyol got things kicked off and looked confident in the opening.

There were no real chances for us until the 13th minute when Pepe got his head on a corner but it was wide.

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We continued to push forward but Espanyol compacted their defense really well in order to keep our crosses from finding their intended targets.

In the 26th minute, Kovacic and Diop had a nasty clash of heads that left Kova with a bloodied eye. They patched him up and he soldiered on. I give full credit to these guys. I’m an absolute baby when I get hit in the head or face.

Has anyone else felt like Ronaldo has reverted to being a 25 year old? Because I do! He’s been incredible in the past two matches. It’s vintage Ronaldo and I love it! I made a very unnatural noise when he did this!

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In the 29th minute, the first yellow card came out when Moreno had a bad challenge on Kovacic. I was sure they were trying to break him.

In the 31st minute, Crispy had the ball in the back of the net but it was disallowed for offside. Espanyol were doing really well at holding their lines and we had a lot of offsides calls.

In the 33rd minute, Alvarito rose like Ronaldo and headed in a great cross from Isco.

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In the 41st minute, Kovacic picked up a booking for a foul on Piatti.

Toward the end of the half, it seemed neither team could keep possession and it ended with Los Blancos ahead.

Real Madrid 1 – 0 Espanyol

Second Half:

GareBear was warming up during the interval, but he wasn’t subbed in at the start of the second half. For Espanyol, however, Perez replaced Jose Antonio Reyes.

In the 49th minute, Isco pulled down Piatti and earned himself a yellow card. And what is going on with his hair?!

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In the 53rd minute, Fuego (whose name I giggle at every time) was booked for a foul on Ronnie. It set up a free kick just outside the box but CR7 put it low and into the wall.

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In the 61st minute, Zizou decided we needed some Casemiro and he replaced Kovacic.

Lukita and Sergio were in the stands supporting their teammates.

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In the 68th minute, Diop was booked for a late challenge on Casanova.

In the 70th minute, Morata’s cross found Cris’ head but it was over the bar.

In the 71st minute, we finally a glimpse of our Welsh Dragon! Bale replaced Morata, stepping on the field for the first time in 88 days!

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The 81st minute saw a booking for Aaron after fouling Lucas Vazquez. It also saw Marcelo replacing Nacho and then Alvaro Vazquez replacing Jurado for Espanyol.

In the 82nd minute, Casemiro picked up a yellow for a late challenge on Perez.

And then, in the 83rd minute, we were reminded of what Gareth Freaking Bale can do. He used his speed to beat the Espanyol defense and finished nicely into the corner.

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After 3 minutes of added time, that was it.

Real Madrid 2 – 0 Espanyol

Match Photos:

Post-Match Comments:

zizou-post-match

FROM REALMADRID.COM

Zidane: “Bale is a special player and he makes a difference for us”
by Javier Garcia

“I’m pleased because I’ve got 24 very good footballers and they’re all very focused on what we’re doing”, he added.

Zidane appeared in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu to discuss his team’s win over Espanyol that consolidated their place at the top of the table. The coach was full of praise for his players: “I’m happy because it shows they’re all focused and committed to what we’re doing. It’s more difficult for the players who get less minutes, but they don’t show it. You can see they’re all prepared when the team needs them and that’s great”.

“We’ve got 24 very good players and we want to be all together in everything we do. The players are happy to be able to help the team when they get their chance, that’s the most important thing. We know we’ve got a lot of games and we’ll need everyone. Now we have two games away from home, there are only two teams that can pick up more points on Wednesday and that’s crucial. Then next weekend it’s another difficult away trip”.

Bale
“I’m happy to have him back. He was eager to get back playing again. When he came on, I told him to go out and enjoy himself, that was all I said. We’d discussed his position previously. He’s a key player and we’re all happy, especially the player himself. Gareth is Gareth. We’ve only got one Gareth Bale, but we’ve got other players who are doing a great job”.

“He’s a special player, he’s different from the rest, but each player does their bit. It doesn’t look like he’s been out for three months. He’s very powerful, he makes the difference and that’s why he’s special. I’m happy to have the front three available because we know what they can offer, as well as what the rest can do”.
 
Cristiano
“We know about him because he always scores. Every time he doesn’t score people pick up on it, but he doesn’t look anxious to me. For me, he was just like in the match against Napoli, he’s run a lot and worked for others. I’m not worried, I know he’s going to be the difference at a key moment”.

Isco
“He is happy and committed to what he’s doing. He has had a great game today and has given the two assists for the goals. I’m just thinking about what the team is doing right now”.
 
Goal scoring streak
“It was difficult to get both goals. We attacked for the whole game but we didn’t get the second goal to give us some breathing space. We were patient in the game and that’s what’s important. I like to mix patience with a touch of speed. We must carry on like this to continue our scoring streak”.

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Carvajal: “We’ve got over the first hurdle in an important week”

“I’m happy with the result, with the performance and to be back playing again”, said Casilla.

Carvajal started the match in the win against Espanyol and spoke about the performance: “We played before Barcelona today and we tried to put three more points on the board. The game lacked a bit of pace, we came in to it after a very intense game in the Champions League, but we’ve kept a clean sheet, got the three points and can now move on to think about Wednesday’s game”.
 
“We’ve got tremendous attacking potential and the statistics show that. We’ve got a difficult and important week with three games. We’ve got over the first hurdle and we’re going to Valencia on Wednesday to give everything to get the three points. We worked hard and have a big squad to go in to so many games in a row. From now on we have to win everything to achieve our goals”.

Difference in the League
“If you do your homework, it puts the put the pressure on your opponent. We were second last year and were trying to come back, but it is not an easy task”.

Casilla: “It’s always special to play against Espanyol”
“I’m happy with the result, with the performance and to be back playing again. For me it is always special to play against Espanyol. I knew that after the cup it was going to be difficult, but the coach gave me these minutes and I thank him for that. We have to keep working and show that we’re in good shape”.
 
The streak
“On Wednesday we have an important game in Valencia, we have to get the three points and we know that after every game, we’re near the end. We’ve always tried to be at our best, but the important thing is that we have returned to winning ways and we want to continue like that”.

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Bale: “I’m happy to be back and to have got the goal because I’ve worked hard for it”
by Borja Miranda

The Welshman made it 100 official wins with Real Madrid while Lucas Vázquez got to 50.

Gareth Bale made his comeback in style against Espanyol. Given a tremendous ovation by the Santiago Bernabéu crowd, in the 71st minute the Welshman completed his return from the injury he suffered in Lisbon on the 22nd of November; and he did so in scoring fashion: “I’m happy to be back and to have got the goal because I’ve worked hard during the last few weeks to get fit. The most important thing is to be back helping the team”.

“The reception from the Bernabéu was unbelievable. The fans are fantastic. They applauded me and I really felt their affection. I’ll take it game by game and keep working hard in the upcoming weeks to get back to 100% as soon as possible. We want to win all the trophies we play for and I want to keep helping the team”.

Milestone
Bale also registered a century of victories with Real Madrid. The forward has reached the figure in his fourth season at the club, having played 140 matches. During this time, he has won 2 Champions Leagues, 2 Club World Cups, 2 European Super Cups and 1 Copa del Rey. He made his debut against Villarreal on the 14th of September 2013, also scoring his first goal for the Whites.

Across the different competitions, he has notched 68 wins in LaLiga, 24 in the Champions League, 5 in the Copa del Rey, 2 in the Club World Cup and 1 in the European Super Cup. Over the course of his time with the Whites, Bale has scored 66 goals in a Real Madrid shirt.  

Lucas Vázquez, 50 wins
The academy product also reached a milestone against Espanyol, making it 50 victories. Lucas is in his second season with the first team, and has made it to this figure in just 64 games. The madridista forward’s wins have come spread across five different competitions: LaLiga (37), the Champions League (8), the Copa del Rey (2), the Club World Cup (2) and the European Super Cup (1).

Post-Match Social Media:

Our next match is at Valencia on Wednesday. I’m not ready, so I hope the boys are!

¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!

-mygypsyspirit

(gifs by gutilicious and gfsports)

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