Player ratings as the Blancos win comeback

Real Madrid came from behind to beat Espanyol 3-1 on Saturday afternoon and cut the gap with La Liga leaders Barcelona to six points.

Yosilo’s artillery shot gave the Catalans the lead, but Vinicius Junior fell short of his team’s level before Eder Militao scored with a header in the second half before the end of the first half.

Substitute Marco Asensio rounded out the proceedings in stoppage time in the second half.

Real Madrid received a warning shot moments after kick-off as Martin Braithwaite slipped behind the team’s defense, although Militao recovered to block the Dane’s shot.

The visitors pulled off that early threat with their clinical opener inside ten minutes. Ruben Sanchez was released from the right flank and his early and accurate cross found Joselu in the acres of space. The former Stoke striker gave his effort the first time around, scoring into the goal into the top corner with a fine finish.

Thibaut Courtois was needed to clear Vinicius Sousa’s header, but an attacking spark from Vinicius helped Real Madrid stop their poor start and equalise.

The Brazilian was allowed to sneak up on his right foot before blasting an accurate shot across a field of bodies and just off the post past Fernando Pacheco.

This goal seems to be waking up TRUE When they started moving the ball faster and creating more chances. Toni Kroos ran the drive well before Rodrygo sent a massive effort behind Pacheco’s bar.

The hosts’ pressure continued to mount and they took the lead thanks to a fine cross from Aurelien Tchoamene, who Militao volleyed with the outside of his boot to head against the crossbar.

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Espanyol looked lacking in confidence in their attacking third in the second half, as José Grajera failed to connect properly when well positioned on the edge of the penalty area. Kross soon had another pop from the distance, only this time ditching the bar with Pacheco scrambling.

Rodrygo, an active substitute up front for the injured Karim Benzema, hit the bar with a superb free kick from 25 yards before Vinicius was saved again by Pacheco as Real tried to finish the game.

Real eventually got a late third as Nacho surged forward and played into a wide open Asensio, who lofted the ball into the near corner to seal all three points for Real.

GK: Thibaut Courtois – 6/10 – The push came in to claim crosses and made some important stops.

Right-back: Dani Carvajal – 7/10 – He created two chances wide and was sparing in possession, only being sent off once.

Central defender: Eder Militao – 7/10 – He lost ground behind Joselu before the striker fired in Espanyol’s opener. He got the goalscorer himself with a well controlled header and managed a nice finish to the match.

Center back: Nacho Fernandez – 7/10 – She led the side but was definitely drowsy during the opening exchanges. He got better and moved to left-back late on, assisting in Asensio’s goal.

Left-back: Eduardo Camavinga – 5/10 – He was caught under a high ball before Joselu’s opener. A bit misplaced, as you would expect from a natural midfielder who plays left-back.

Midfielder: Luka Modric – 7/10 – He roamed around in his own unique style and helped keep Espanyol alive when Real turned up the pressure.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 7/10 – He flirted with the ball before Espanyol broke and scored. A wicked cross by Militao helped put Real back in front.

CM: Toni Kroos – 8/10 – Got an assist to give Vinicius the ball wide. He picked up the pace when Real Madrid got off to a sloppy start and quickly started creating chances.

Right winger: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – He worked like a dog wide before playing a central role in the second half.

Forward: Rodrygo – 7/10 – He did really well in the absence of Benzema and it was a shame to see his free kick attempt come back off the wood.

Left wing: Vinicius Jr – 8/10 – He had to take it upon himself to drag the real level. This injection of energy lifted his team towards victory.


Marco Asensio (72 minutes for Modric) – 7/10 – He applied the finishing touches to Real Madrid’s third goal.

Antonio Rudiger (74 min with Kroos) – 6/10

Dani Ceballos (74 min for Chomeni) – 5/10


Carlo Ancelotti – 6/10 – He didn’t get the start he wanted but Ancelotti rested at least some key players while carefully managing the rest of his squad with a Liverpool second leg on the horizon.

A goal keeper: Fernando Pacheco (6); RB: Oscar Gil (7), Cb: Sergi Gomez (6), pound: Leandro Cabrera (6); RM: Ruben Sanchez (7), poison: Vinicius Souza (6), poison: Jose Grajera (6), LM: Serge Darder (7); street: Martin Braithwaite (6), street: Joselo (8).

Subs: Ronil Pierre Gabriel (7), Javier Boadu (6), Denis Suarez (6), Aleix Vidal (6), Nico Ribaudo (6)

Man of the match – Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

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