A brilliant back-heeled pass by Karim Benzema helped Real Madrid take a step toward reclaiming the Spanish league title on Sunday with a 1-0 win at Espanyol.
With Espanyol about to make it to halftime with a clean sheet, Benzema cleverly unlocked the hosts’ defense. He used a no-look pass with his heel to poke the ball through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa and meet Casemiro’s move into the heart of the box.
Casemiro’s resulting goal and some flawless defending were all Madrid needed to win and move ahead of Barcelona by two points at the top of the table.
“I see things, that is what football is to me,” Benzema said about the goal. “The assist is good, but Casemiro puts it in and gave us the three points. (This win) is very important. I won’t say that we don’t pay attention to Barca, of course, we do, but we are focused on our matches and each game left is a final for us.”
Zinedine Zidane’s team took advantage of Barcelona’s 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday by securing a fifth straight win since the league resumed following a three-month stoppage as Spain contained its COVID-19 outbreak.
The title rivals have six games left. Madrid holds the tiebreaker on head-to-head results in the event they finish level on points. The run-in seems tougher for defending champion Barcelona, which faces third-place Atlético Madrid on Tuesday at Camp Nou.