Contrasting La Liga starts for Real and Barcelona


"Following tests carried out on Dani Carvajal, he has been diagnosed with a viral pericardium infection", said a Real Madrid statement on their official website.

Espanyol offered a valiant fight, even striking the post late-on in the first half, but when Isco doubled his side's lead in midway through the second, the contest was effectively over.

Real Madrid have endured a rather topsy-turvy start to their season.

A brace from Isco helped Real Madrid edge past a dogged Espanyol 2-0 to secure a first LaLiga win of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite their victory yesterday Real are now in fifth place in La Liga, seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

After a hard start to the season which saw him booed by the home fans, Cardiff-born Bale has bounced back, scoring an fantastic volley in his side's 3-1 win away win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last Tuesday.

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Lionel Messi's hat-trick saw Barcelona move four points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as Ousmane Dembele marked his debut with an assist in a 5-0 rout of local rivals Espanyol on Saturday.

Injuries and suspensions have made the start of the La Liga season hard for the title holders.

If Barcelona play their match at home to Las Palmas - which is in doubt due to the Catalunya referendum today - they are set to heap more pressure on Los Blancos. Real know they need all three points on Sunday at the Bernabeu.

"What Cristiano is most interested in is playing games, scoring goals, that will always stay the same".

Following La Liga's refusal to abandon the match, Barca chose to play behind closed doors as a means of protest. It wasn't a vintage Real performance, but at least they won. New signing Pablo Piatti has also scored one goal as he continues to operate down the left wing and provide pace and trickery. I think there won't be just two or three teams that can win it.

Gerard Moreno came close to getting the equaliser, as he latched onto a shot after a mistake from Casemiro, but couldn't find the net.

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