Isco nets brace in Real Madrid win

Could Gareth Bale miss Wales' final two World Cup qualifiers

Los Blancos entered the match 10 points behind the league leaders Barcelona, but that gap is now back down to seven entering the global break courtesy of a two-goal success on home soil.

Madrid-based journalist Lucas Navarrete reports that Real "will try their best to prevent Bale from going to play with Wales this Federation Internationale de Football Association break and are confident about succeeding".

The home side, as expected, dominated the possession in the opening 10 minutes, but Espanyol enjoyed a decent period as the first half developed, with Sergi Darder causing problems in an advanced midfield position. At a time when the Spanish and European champions are struggling for form at home, Isco was the one who took on the responsibility to drive Real Madrid forward, delivering with a double.

Los Blancos are still playing catch-up with Barca, who reclaimed a five-point lead at the head of the table earlier on Sunday, overcoming a slow start in front of an empty Camp Nou to beat Las Palmas 3-0.

But the Spanish worldwide made no mistake when he prodded home Cristiano Ronaldo's pass for the opener on 30 minutes.

Stoke City v Southampton
There was also a first start of the season for Southampton's Virgil van Dijk after the Liverpool target was denied a summer move away.

Ronaldo had the opportunity to make it 2-0 less than one minute later after collecting a brilliant cross from Asensio, but the number seven missed the crossbar with a wild effort. Ronaldo slots through Isco, who had made an excellent run in behind to toe poke a finish underneath Lopez. Subs - Navarro 7, Granero 6, Garcia 6.

The Spain global was the star of the show and netted either side of half-time, but again Real looked to be lacking their usual bite, even with talisman Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting lineup for the third straight league game. Espanyol were inches away from finding an equaliser, with Moreno cracking a low shot off the base of the post.

Defenders: Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Achraf and Tejero.

Isco was involved again when his long-range shot was comfortably gathered by Lopez, before Marco Asensio scuffed wide from a corner.

Espanyol would have themselves to blame for losing the match against Real Madrid as they wasted many chances which would have resulted to goals for them.

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