CORNELLA DE LLOBREGAT, Spain – Gerard Moreno’s goal in stoppage time gave hosts Espanyol a 1-0 victory on Tuesday over Real Madrid, whose La Liga woes continue.
The loss leaves the Blancos with 51 points from 26 matches, seven behind second-place Atletico Madrid and 14 fewer than leaders Barcelona. And Barça and Atleti each have a game in hand.
The visitors began confidently and created their first chance just seven minutes into the match, as a Lucas Vazquez cross found Gareth Bale’s head and the Welsh international delivered a shot on target – though it was also straight into the hands of Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez.
Real Madrid threatened again twice on successive corners against a home side that struggled to keep their shape or play out of their own end until the 26th minute, when Moreno found himself alone with ball in front of Blancos keeper Keylor Navas, who managed to stick out his leg in time to send the shot wide.
Moreno thought he had scored on the next sequence of play, but the goal was disallowed on a controversial offside call.
Espanyol delivered some excitement early in the second half, as Navas was forced to deflect a strike from Sergio Garcia for a corner and got help from the cross-bar with a header by Oscar Duarte.
The match then settled into a period with no clear opportunities for either team.
Navas stopped a Moreno header in the 77th minute and Garcia’s effort from outside the 18-yard box failed to hit the mark.
Both teams pressed forward in the closing minutes and the match was up for grabs, but Moreno finally got a reward for his persistence, surprising Navas in the 93rd minute to secure the three points for Espanyol, who climb to 13th place.