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Real Madrid 4-0 Espanyol: Los Blancos seal LaLiga title
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Nicholas McGee
Stats Perform
Rodrygo struck twice as Real Madrid hammered Espanyol to win the title
Rodrygo struck twice as Real Madrid hammered Espanyol to win the title

Real Madrid clinched the LaLiga title in style as Rodrygo scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Espanyol.

Los Blancos needed only to avoid defeat to give third-placed Barcelona no chance of producing a remarkable turnaround in the title race.

And they made no mistake against Barca's city rivals on Saturday, Rodrygo doing the damage in the first half with a well-taken brace.

Marco Asensio made it 3-0 and Isco had a goal disallowed before Karim Benzema fittingly had the final say as Madrid claimed a 35th LaLiga title. They will now turn attention to trying to overturn a 4-3 deficit to Manchester City in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

Espanyol started brightly with plenty of energy but they were fortunate not to go behind in the 13th minute when Mariano, playing as the central striker in place of the rested Benzema, hit the post with a header from point-blank range.

Mariano headed wide from Luka Modric's pass nine minutes later before the deadlock was broken by Rodrygo, who received Marcelo's cutback and stroked a side-footed effort into the bottom-right corner.

Ten minutes later, Rodrygo doubled their advantage, wrong-footing Diego Lopez with a clever finish after Espanyol lost possession deep in their own half.

Asensio effectively made sure of the points and the title 10 minutes into the second half, when he confidently finished off a rapid counter-attack led by Eduardo Camavinga.

Substitutes Benzema and Isco combined for what looked a fine fourth goal, only for VAR to intervene with Lopez's vision apparently impeded by an offside player.

It mattered not as Madrid regained the title they lost to Atletico Madrid last season, Benzema's 81st-minute effort too strong for Lopez to put the icing on the cake.

What does it mean? Ancelotti makes history

The collective stumbles of Sevilla and Barcelona left the title returning to the Santiago Bernabeu an inevitability.

It has great significance for Carlo Ancelotti, who in his second spell as coach now has his first LaLiga title and is the first boss to win each of Europe's top five leagues, having also won the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga

Ruthless Rodrygo

Madrid, who have dropped points just nine times this season compared to 17 for Sevilla, 15 for Barca and 15 for Atletico, deserve great credit for their consistency and ruthlessness.

Espanyol had 20 shots to Madrid's 11, but the hosts were far more clinical in front of goal. Rodrygo exemplified their cutting edge, scoring from both his shots while also playing two key passes.

Mariano misses opportunity

Mariano, by contrast, failed to hit the target from any of his three efforts on goal, though he did win possession back to tee up Rodrygo for his second.

Key Opta facts

- Madrid won the LaLiga title for the first time at Santiago Bernabeu since 2007, when they celebrated being crowned champions with a 3-1 win over Real Mallorca.

- Los Blancos have gone 25 games without losing a home match against Espanyol (W22 D3), their best current run of unbeaten home games against a single opponent. They have kept a clean sheet in their last seven.

- Rodrygo has scored three goals in his last three LaLiga games, as many as in his 67 previous league matches.

- Asensio has scored his 12th goal this season in all competitions, his best tally in a single campaign in his professional career.

What's next?

The Bernabeu will be electric when City visit on Tuesday and Madrid could then receive a guard of honour in their away game at Atletico next Sunday. Espanyol host Osasuna on the same day.


LaLigaReal MadridEspanyol
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