|First Division - Day 1|
Real Madrid 2 - Espanyol 0
Casillas; Salgado, Hierro, Iván Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Makelele,
Cambiasso (Solari 90'); Figo (McManaman 82'), Zidane, Raúl; Guti
(Morientes 82'). 4-2-3-1.
Real Madrid joined the leaders at the top of the division after beating Espanyol on Monday evening. The match though was overshadowed by the drama surrounding the signing of Ronaldo on Sunday night, and the television cameras spent more time following the flamboyant star, who took his place in the stands to watch his new side. Madrid came in to this game on the back of their European Super Cup victory over Feyenoord on Friday evening, and there was a electric atmosphere in the ground.
However they were caught off guard by the new-look Catalan side and were pushed back in the opening ten minutes, Roger bringing a good save out of Casillas early on. Juande Ramos had surprised everybody including youngster Albert Crusat in his starting line up, but the B team forward only lasted five minutes before clashing awkwardly with Zidane and being stretchered off with a broken collar bone.
Gradually though Madrid took control ,and after a sustained period of attack Iván Helguera headed them into the lead from Figo's corner. The pressure continued on into the second half, and only a couple of great saves by Espanyol's new keeper Sergio Sánchez from Guti, and some poor finishing by the home side, kept the visitors in the game in the second half. Even so, the visitors could have snatched a draw, particularly when Roger rattled the crossbar with a quarter of an hour to go. It was not to be though, and after the forgotten man Fernando Morientes was given the ovation of the night when he replaced Guti, another late substitute Steve McManaman finally put the fans at ease with a last minute goal past the injured Sánchez.