Casimero goal seals Madrid win and sends them back top of La Liga
The Brazilian midfielder slid to the ground to guide the ball home on the stroke of halftime after being played in by Benzema who unpicked the Espanyol defence by dragging the ball through the legs of his marker Bernardo Espinosa to find his teammate.
Zinedine Zidane‘s men led the league by virtue of their superior head-to-head record going into the weekend and were boosted by Celta‘s late equalizer against Barcelona on Saturday.
Real‘s players embraced each other when the final whistle was blown to give them their fifth consecutive victory since the start of the replay, which took them top on 71 points after 32 games. It leaves Barcelona with 69 points after their draw against Celta with six games to play.
Casemiro was the most dangerous player from the away side and nearly opened the scoring early on with a wild shot from his own half. It forced Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez to make a world class save back toward his line to push the ball to safety.
Casemiro then somehow missed the target with a header when he appeared unmarked from close range, but he soon made amends thanks to the quick-thinking of Benzema.
“It was a nice assist but the goal was more important, Casemiro did well and got us three important points after a very difficult game,” said Benzema.
Casemiro has been a workhouse for Los Blancos this season and has arguably been one of his side’s most important players.
Zinedine Zidane‘s men will be looking to continue their run of form to clinch their first title in three years.