Gareth Bale and Alvaro Morata ensured that Real Madrid ended the season with a win, as they beat Espanyol 3-1 at Santiago Bernabeu.
There was much confusion before the match as Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the XI, before pulling out of the starting XI to be replaced by Isco. Bale and Karim Benzema were available however, and started in Los Blancos’ final game of the season. Javier Aguirre meanwhile, was taking charge of what was likely to be his last for the Periquitos.
That wasn’t spurring the visitors on however, as the hosts got off to a bright start, almost opening the scoring after only 10 minutes. A cross from Marcelo on the left found the head of Benzema, but the France international’s effort was saved well by Kiko Casilla.
It was the lowest crowd of the season at Santiago Bernabeu, and the lack of intensity from the stands was transposing itself on to the pitch. The game was slow and tepid, with Carlo Ancelotti’s men happy to keep the ball and wait for a chance.
And that opportunity almost came on 20 minutes. Bale cut in from the right-hand side and struck a sweet effort towards goal. The whip on the ball though, saw the shot swerve just wide of the post.
The Wales international continued to be dangerous, but his surging runs couldn’t force an opening, as both teams went into the break drawing 0-0.
After the interval, it was the Barcelona-based side who came out the quicker, and almost broke the deadlock on 55 minutes. Sergio Garcia raced through behind the Blancos defence, but Iker Casillas met him inside the area, and produced a great one-on-one save.
Just 10 minutes later however, a goal finally was scored, and it went to the home team. A delightful reverse pass from Benzema found Bale inside the area, and the former Tottenham took it in his stride superbly and coolly slotted past the goalkeeper.
And the win looked secured with just five minutes remaining, as Morata tapped in an Angel Di Maria cross from close-range.
The visitors weren’t ready to roll over however, and set up a nervy finish by pulling one back in the very last minute. Some good work from Sergio Garcia saw the striker pull back for Pizzi, who tapped in.
Even that though, wasn’t the end of the action, as Morata netted his second with the very last kick of the match, finishing another Di Maria pass.
Real Madrid 3-1 Espanyol
Scorers: Bale 64 (RM), Morata 85, 90 (RM); Pizzi 90 €
Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal (Arbeloa 45), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Illarra, Di Maria, Khedira (Modric 60); Isco, Benzema (Morata 66), Bale
Espanyol: Casilla; J.López, Colotto, H.Moreno, Fuentes; Stuani,Víctor, D.López, Simao (Pizzi 70), Abraham (Cordoba 63); S.García.