Isco's brace gave Real Madrid their first home win of the season in La Liga as they beat Espanyol 2-0 on Sunday.
Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Theo Hernandez, Karim Benzema and Mateo Kovacic were all missing for Madrid through injury, so Castlla full-back Achraf Hakimi became Los Blancos’ first Moroccan player of the 21st century.
Barcelona played their game against Las Palmas behind closed doors earlier in the day due to the Catalan referendum, but their more-moderate city rivals had no such problems in the Spanish capital.
Indeed, Espanyol had won two of their last three matches, yet their last League victory at the Bernabeu came all the way back in 1996.
Madrid dominated the opening half-hour, with Espanyol on the ropes. Sergio Ramos powered an early header at goal, but it was wonderfully tipped over by Pau Lopez from a matter of yards out.
Cristiano Ronaldo then slipped Isco in behind, and the midfielder toe-poked his finish past Pau to cap off a neat, passing move.
Ronaldo was completely unmarked when he received a cross down the left of Espanyol’s box, but he blasted his volley over the bar instead of making it 2-0.
The Portuguese had another chance fall his way, when Casemiro fed him in Los Periquitos’ box, but his shot was straight at Pau.
However, it could’ve all been very different when Gerard Moreno got in behind and had only Keylor Navas to beat, but the goalkeeper saw the striker’s close-range finish all the way.
Gerard proceeded to try his luck in Madrid’s box again and came even closer, but his half-volley clipped the left-hand post.
The second half saw Espanyol pick up from where they left off and push Los Merengues higher up the pitch. Marc Navarro was all on his own down the left of Madrid’s box, but his shot was tipped around the post by Keylor.
The visitors were duly punished for their profligacy as straight after Nacho Fernandez cleared Leo Baptistao’s off-target finish from a couple of yards out, Isco calmly guides the ball into Pau’s bottom right from a Marco Asensio cutback.
Asensio almost flicked Isco in behind for his hat-trick, but the Spain star could only curl the ball at Pau from around 10 yards out.
Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol
Isco 30, 71
Real Madrid: Keylor; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Achraf; Modric (Ceballos 82), Casemiro, Kroos; (Vazquez 69) Isco (Mayoral 90); Ronaldo, Asensio
Espanyol: Pau; Sergio Sanchez (Granero 69), David, Hermoso, Aaron; Baptistao, Darder, Fuego, Roca (Navarro 46), Jurado (Sergio Garcia 46); Gerard
Referee: Gonzalez Gonzalez