|First Division - Day 20|
Espanyol 2 - Real Madrid 2
Torricelli (Amaya 75'), Lopo, Soldevilla, David García; Maxi, Domoraud,
Morales (Martín Posse 83'), Roger (Alex Fernández 67'); Tamudo,
Team changes: Espanyol: Torricelli for Amaya / Madrid: Iván Helguera, Cambiasso for Pavón, Makelele.
Real Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw against Espanyol to end the day in second place, only four points now behind leaders Real Sociedad. This was their fifth game in a row without a win, but they were thankful to take a point in the end after trailing by two goals at the half time interval. Javier Clemente's side had played a waiting game, with some hard tackling, particularly from new boy Torricelli, to keep the visiting forwards under control. Then in the fortieth minute they struck, Roger picking up a through ball from Milosevic to beat Casillas with a low shot from the edge of the area. Before the half time whistle Tamudo had made it two, a typical goal-hanger's goal after Hierro had cleared Roger's long shot off the line with Casillas beaten.
Madrid had only gone close once in the first half when Raúl set up Ronaldo, and they could have been further behind immediately after the restart when a long shot from Maxi struck the foot of the post. However Roberto Carlos pulled one back with a house special on the hour mark, Toni getting his hands to the Brazilian's fiercely struck shot from outside of the area but unable to turn it away from the target. Del Bosque brought on Solari, now back in the fold after his transfer deal to Inter Milan fell through, but he only lasted eight minutes before picking up an injury and limping off.
The visitors kept up the pressure though, and with a quarter of an hour to go Figo made it all square with a curling free kick which left Toni with no chance. Substitute Alex was sent off for the home side after picking up a second booking, leaving his side with ten men, but Madrid were unable to take advantage and McManaman shot over the bar when presented with a chance. The record 51,000 crowd were happy in the end though with a draw, which takes their side out of the relegation zone for the time being at least.