Match ends, Espanyol 0, Real Madrid 1.
Real Madrid are two points clear at the top of La Liga after grinding out a victory at bottom club Espanyol.
Casemiro scored the only goal as he latched onto Karim Benzema's brilliant no-look backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa before firing home.
The Brazilian had earlier gone close to the opener when his shot from his own half was saved by Diego Lopez.
Espanyol had several chances with Thibaut Courtois making five saves.
Sporting director Francisco Rufete took over as manager on Saturday after replacing Abelardo Fernandez - the third Espanyol boss to be sacked this season.
They put up a good fight, with Wu Lei among the players to go close, but fell just short.
Real Madrid are now only six wins - or five wins and a draw - from a second La Liga title since 2012.
City rivals Atletico can do them a favour when they visit Barca on Thursday.
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- 17ViláSubstituted forPedrosaat 45'minutesBooked at 68mins
- 7WuSubstituted forMelendoat 57'minutes
- 15LópezSubstituted forLozanoat 84'minutes
- 10DarderSubstituted forMelamedat 69'minutes
- 23EmbarbaSubstituted forCalleriat 69'minutes
- 11de Tomás
- 5Gomes Pereira
- 16López Rodríguez
- 22IscoSubstituted forRodrygoat 64'minutes
- 7E HazardSubstituted forVinícius Júniorat 64'minutesBooked at 87mins
- 25Vinícius Júnior
- Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Espanyol 0, Real Madrid 1.
Foul by Casemiro (Real Madrid).
Nicolás Melamed (Espanyol) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nicolás Melamed (Espanyol).
Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Marc Roca (Espanyol).
Foul by Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).
Raúl de Tomás (Espanyol) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Pol Lozano (Espanyol).
Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid).
Óscar Melendo (Espanyol) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Casemiro (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jonathan Calleri (Espanyol).
Substitution, Espanyol. Pol Lozano replaces David López.
Offside, Real Madrid. Daniel Carvajal tries a through ball, but Rodrygo is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Rodrygo (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Karim Benzema.