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Espanyol's lack of shape allowed Luka Modric and others to exploit the space with ease.
To some extent, the home side was the author of its own downfall.
Javier Aguirre had set his team up in an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation, but it was seen very infrequently over the 90 minutes.
During the first period, two tight banks of four were often 20 yards or more away from the front two, meaning any out ball rarely reached its target.
Madrid's defence picked off any wayward Espanyol passing, and this profligacy was the chief reason why we saw the away team rattle off seven goal-bound shots in the first half.
Espanyol improved over the course of the second 45, but their setup still left a lot to be desired. Cristiano Ronaldo's headed chance midway though the half came directly as a result of the home side committing far too many men forward.
As Angel Di Maria won the ball deep into his own half, there were five Espanyol players in an attacking line across the field—three in midfield, leaving just two at the back.
This is scandalous at this level of football, and these two instances were by no means isolated incidents.