Marco Asensio proved to be the difference as Real Madrid sealed a hard-fought victory against Espanyol in the La Liga.

Julen Lopetegui‘s team destroyed their Champions League competitors Roma at the Bernabeu in midweek but lacked the same flow in their game against Espanyol. Marco Asensio scored the only goal of the match just before the break.

Real Madrid‘s star forward Gareth Bale was an unused substitute on Saturday as Lopetegui alternated his squad.

Isco fluffed Real’s first opening when his mistimed shot drifted at the wrong side of the post in the 5th minute. Espanyol then missed a golden chance just after as Hernan Perez and Pablo Piatti combined inside the box, only for the latter to pull his low effort wide of Thibaut Courtois‘ post.

Luka Modric‘s ventured shot from the edge of the box bounced through the legs of the visiting defenders straight to Asensio, who drilled a low angled shot in off the far post in the 41st minute to score his first goal of the season. Even after this goal, they were far from convincing against the persistent visitors.

Real went in search of a second goal to kill the match, however, they failed to find the net again. Modric’s low driven shot was amazingly saved from the bottom corner by Diego Lopez, while Isco and Casemiro both went close to making it 2-0 with a couple powerful attempts from outside the box.

Espanyol continued to look threatening when given a little chance. Borja Iglesias‘ shot was blocked by Courtois and a minute later the Espanyol forward hit the crossbar with another shot from outside the penalty area after Real skipper Sergio Ramos failed to clear the danger at the back. Ramos occasionally suffered in defense but was almost rewarded by a goal for his ability to surge forward when his header from Isco’s cross drew another excellent save from Lopez.

Real Madrid face Sevilla in their next La Liga fixture on Thursday 27th, September.

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