Real Madrid moved two points clear of Barcelona in the title race in La Liga after a hard-fought victory at basement club Espanyol on Sunday night.
Casemiro’s strike moments before the break was enough to separate the sides and ensure Madrid continued their winning run in the division, which now stands at five games.
Zinedine Zidane’s side entered the matchday weekend top of the table courtesy of their head-to-head record over Barcelona, but the Blaugrana dropped two points at Celta Vigo on Saturday to allow Madrid to create breathing room.
Casemiro – who returned to a four-man Madrid midfielder following suspension – struck just before half-time following Karim Benzema’s sensational backheeled assist that split open the home side’s defence.
The result means Espanyol stay at the foot of the table and relegation now feels inevitable – they are 10 points adrift of safety with just six rounds of action remaining.
— 433 (@433) June 28, 2020
The club’s sporting director Rufete was in the home dugout at the RCDE Stadium – the club’s fourth Coach of the campaign – following the surprise sacking of Abelardo Fernandez on Saturday.
Espanyol have been an ever-present in La Liga since 1994.