MADRID (AP) — It took some help from video review to put Real Madrid on top in the Spanish league.
Marco Asensio’s first-half winner to beat Espanyol 1-0 on Saturday was initially waived off for offside but eventually stood after assistance from the VAR, which is making its La Liga debut this season.
“In the end there was justice. I’m glad the VAR worked,” Asensio said. “I had already told (the referee) I didn’t think I was offside.”
The win at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium left Madrid one point ahead of Barcelona, which plays on Sunday against Girona at Camp Nou Stadium.
Madrid rested regulars such as Gareth Bale and Marcelo following its opening win against Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Thibaut Courtois, playing in goal after Keylor Navas started in the Champions League, saved Madrid in one of the few good chances created by Espanyol in the first half, and Borja Iglesias almost equalized but struck the crossbar in the second half after a mistake by Sergio Ramos.
“We knew how to suffer and we knew how to close out the match to get the three points,” Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui said. “That was important.”
BACK TO WINNING
Thomas Lemar’s first goal for Atletico Madrid helped to end its winless run in the league.
Lemar set up the other goal in Atletico’s 2-0 win at 10-man Getafe.
After a loss and draw, Atletico moved within five points of Real Madrid.
Lemar, part of France’s World Cup-winning squad, contributed to the opening score when his long-range shot bounced off the crossbar and rebounded into the net off the back of goalkeeper David Soria, who was credited with an own-goal.
In the second half, Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion set up Lemar, who dribbled past Soria and scored from a tight angle.
Getafe, which hadn’t lost since the opening round, played a man down from the 67th minute after Ivan Alejo was sent off for a hard foul.
Alaves routed promoted Valladolid 5-1 to earn its third straight win.
Ibai Gomez scored in each half at Rayo’s Vallecas Stadium, which reopened after about a month of renovation work.
GOALS AT LAST
Promoted club Valladolid, owned by former Brazil striker Ronaldo, ended its scoreless streak in a 3-3 draw at Celta Vigo.
Leo Suarez earned the point for Valladolid by scoring four minutes into second-half stoppage time.
Valladolid hadn’t scored in its previous four leagues matches.
Celta, which got two goals from Spain forward Iago Aspas, had a two-goal lead until the 65th minute at Balaidos Stadium.
Mid-table Eibar defeated Leganes 1-0 at home with a second-half goal by Kike Garcia.
Leganes’ third straight loss, and fourth in five matches, left it with only one point and in last place in the 20-team standings.
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