Vinicius Junior scored a fine solo goal as Real Madrid came from behind to beat Espanyol 3-1 and cut Barcelona’s lead to six points at the top of La Liga on Saturday.
Joselu had sent the visitors ahead early on at the Santiago Bernabeu but Vinicius produced a surging run and lethal finish to pull the champions level.
Eder Militao’s header completed the turnaround and Madrid could have added more goals in the second half, with Rodrygo hitting the crossbar from a free-kick.
Eventually Marco Asensio tucked away the third in stoppage time after a fine run and pass from defender Nacho Fernandez.
Barcelona visit Athletic Bilbao on Sunday to try and restore their advantage, ahead of El Clasico at Camp Nou next weekend.
“They caught us out a bit with their goal, but the game gives us confidence to face a complicated week,” said Nacho, ahead of Madrid’s clashes with Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday and Barcelona on Sunday.
“When space opens out, we’re a team that has very fast players up front (to capitalise).”
After failing to score from open play in their last three matches across all competitions, Madrid’s three well-taken goals were a confidence boost.
With Karim Benzema out with an ankle issue, although poised to return for the Champions League last 16 second leg clash with Liverpool, Carlo Ancelotti selected Rodrygo up front in his place.
The coach also opted to play Eduardo Camavinga out of position at left-back again and the French midfielder’s mistake helped the visitors move ahead after eight minutes.
Camavinga misjudged a long ball which he allowed to reach Ruben Sanchez, who crossed for striker Joselu to smash into the top corner. (France24)