Real Madrid clinch 35th La Liga title after thrashing Espanyol 4-0
Real Madrid have won their 35th La Liga title in the club’s history, as a Rodrygo double in a dominant 4-0 victory over Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabéu fired Los Blancos to the title in style.
This match provided a challenge to Carlo Ancelotti. On the one hand, the title could be clinched with only one point.
Still, on the other hand, there is the crucial one-goal deficit to overturn Manchester City in their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday.
Real were already without Éder Militão and Nacho due to domestic suspensions, but Ancelotti put faith in his squad as he made eight changes from the side that started against City on Tuesday.
Whilst Espanyol may have no qualms being the side that helped end their city rivals Barcelona’s slim chances of winning the league; there was the opportunity to complete the first league double over their opponents since 1995/96.
Raúl de Tomas showed their intentions early on with the first effort on target from either side, stinging the gloves of Thibaut Courtois from a distance.
But despite their heavy rotation, the hosts still possessed the greater quality and earned a two-goal lead before half-time.
Rodrygo scored both, his first from inside the box following clever link-up play with fellow Brazilian Marcelo.
His second resulted from Mariano Díaz’s intelligence to press Yangel Herrera on the edge of the box, allowing the Brazilian the chance to fire into the bottom left corner.
The ‘Budgerigars’ emerged the stronger of the two sides in the second half and mounted pressure to get back into the game, but all hopes of that were dashed in a controversial 55th-minute run of play.
Aleix Vidal believed he was fouled when attempting to hurdle a sliding challenge from Casemiro in the box, and from the tackle came a counterattack that Marco Asensio finished off.
Karim Benzema got some crucial minutes late on and crowned the title-winning performance with a first-time finish from Vinicius Junior’s lay-off.
Carlo Ancelotti now becomes the first manager to win league titles in each of Europe’s ‘big five leagues.
Also, the squad remains in excellent condition ahead of a monumental task on Wednesday night, with sights on a shot at another piece of silverware this campaign, this time in Europe.
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