Friday, 07 August, 2020

Karim Benzema, Casemiro magic helps Real Madrid go top of LaLiga

Real beat Espanyol in La Liga to take two-point lead Zidane: Coaching wears you out, I won't do it for 20 years
Cary Erickson | 29 June, 2020, 12:55

"I think this one [is the best], Karim's", Zidane said.

Benzema used a no-look backheel nutmeg to set up Casemiro on a silver platter and produce the only goal in Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Espanyol.

Sporting director Francisco Rufete took over as manager on Saturday after replacing Abelardo Fernandez - the third Espanyol boss to be sacked this season.

His task is now to make up a nine-point gap between his team in 20th and Celta in 17th.

The 48-year-old returned for a second bite at the cherry towards the end of last season, and has guided his side back to the top of the league standings, but has now revealed that the demands of management meant he was unlikely to remain in the game forever. It's an incredible backheel. "It was an incredible assist".

"We know how good he is and that's why I called for the ball as I knew he would lay the ball off to me".

"In my head, I have always been a footballer".

Zinedine Zidane was satisfied with the win against Espanyol when he spoke in the press room at the RCDE Stadium.

Liverpool Urge Fans for Celebrating Title Safely Amid Coronavirus Fears
We have got a lot to play for and look forward to it", the 28-year-old assist master added. This team has proved we can react well and go again after a disappointment.

"Look how hard it was to play against the bottom team".

"In the first half we had a little trouble getting through".

With Marcelo repeatedly caught up field, Wu Lei was able to sprint clear and his early pull-back was met by Sergi Darder at the back post, only for his shot to be blocked by Dani Carvajal.

The core of the defensive unit has been Thibaut Courtois in goal, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in front and Casemiro protecting in central midfield.

A scrap in the penalty area ended with Diego Lopez palming over a half-volley from the quiet Eden Hazard.

Ramos flicked on Marcelo's crossfield pass and Benzema, moving away from goal, backheeled off the bounce through the legs of Bernardo Espinosa for the arriving Casemiro to finish. I like to play football, but defence is the most important thing today. Marcelo nearly deflected into his own net for the last action before the whistle blew.

Former Valencia forward Paco Alcacer opened the scoring with a superb volley on the turn in the 14th minute but opted against celebrating against the club where he began his career.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).