Real Madrid edge past Espanyol to go two clear of Barcelona

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Karim Benzema's exquisite assist set up Casemiro for Real Madrid's victor as they edged out Espanyol 1-0 to move two points clear at the top of La Liga.

With Espanyol about to make it to halftime with a clean sheet, Benzema cleverly unlocked the hosts' defence. Ramos headed the ball on to Benzema inside the box.

"I see things, that is what football is to me", Benzema said about the goal.

"We were very motivated, we've got three points and let's head home". "I can't say we don't look at Barcelona, we do, of course, but we're focused".

Real Madrid is now two points clear of Barcelona, which stumbled again in a draw vs. Celta Vigo on Saturday, with six matches to play.

The capital club have control of the title race with just six matches remaining, although it was not all one-way traffic at RCDE Stadium despite bottom side Espanyol's accommodating defending. Madrid holds the tiebreaker on head-to-head results in the event they finish level on points.

Nominally a holding midfielder, Casemiro provided Madrid's chief attacking threat in the first half. An accelerated schedule has games every three days in order to finish the season by July 19.

Francisco Rufete's troops were fashioning chances upfront but they lacked the killer instinct although Madrid were keeping their shape at back and not willing to venture forward too much in the closing stages.

The Brazilian had earlier gone close to the opener when his shot from his own half was saved by Diego Lopez.

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Real Madrid: Courtois (8), Carvajal (7), Ramos (8), Varane (8), Marcelo (7), Casemiro (8), Kroos (6), Valverde (6), Isco (6), Hazard (6), Benzema (8).

"It would be a bit unfair to talk about my goal after what Karim did". It's a handsome team goal.

The 35-year-old found himself under a 60-yard punt from his goalkeeper before cushioning the ball out of the air perfectly for Gerard Moreno to volley in.

Villarreal is one of the hottest sides in the league since play resumed in Spain.

Valencia is among the worst performers since the resumption of the league.

Paco Alcacer also scored against his former club as Villarreal moved just three points behind fourth-placed Sevilla.

Coach Albert Celades, who has had run-ins with players recently, said he did not fear for his job despite the bad run of results.

Eibar edged closer to La Liga survival with a 2-1 victory at Granada.

Defeat to Real Betis in March saw Madrid hand pole position back to Barcelona, but the coronavirus pandemic swiftly prompted the suspension of the season.

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