Real Madrid secured a 3-1 win over Espanyol in La Liga today to end their three-match winless run.
The pressure was mounting on Los Blancos in their bid to retain the league title. They had suffered back-to-back goalless draws against Atletico Madrid and Real Betis to lose ground in the title race.
Their struggles appeared to continue after Espanyol drew first blood inside eight minutes, with Joselu finding the top right corner with a thunderous left-footed strike after the cross from Ruben Sanchez.
However, Madrid responded quickly with a brilliant solo goal from Vinicius Junior, who took on a handful of defenders on the left flank before beating goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco with a precise finish.
The Brazilian winger has been the best attacker for Los Merengues this season, with his performances compensating for the loss of Karim Benzema.
He has successfully taken the onus in the absence of the French striker and is currently Madrid’s top scorer this season with 16 goals in all competitions.
The momentum swung in Madrid’s favour after the equaliser, and they soon went 2-1 up before half-time after a header from Eder Militao. Aurelien Tchouameni, who was at fault for Espanyol’s first goal, made amends by setting this up.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men put the game to bed in injury time with a goal from substitute Marco Asensio, who made full use of Nacho’s pass.
The Italian manager will be relieved to see his side return to winning ways and reduce the gap to six points on Barcelona, who play Athletic Bilbao tomorrow.
The victory is also crucial as Madrid will be hosting Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 next week, with the Spanish giants leading the aggregate 5-2.
Madrid will be hoping for their arch-rivals to drop points against Athletic. In that event, a mouth-watering El Clasico is on the cards next weekend.
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