For the second time in a row, Real Madrid had to play a La Liga match without their influential number 9 forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
But this didnâ€™t bother them too much as they comfortably thrashed Espanyol 3-0 once again.
This time, the victory was at the Santiago Bernabeu – meaning that Real Madrid successfully completed the double against the Catalans.
Guti Hernandez partnered with Kaka again in midfield whereas Raul was chosen by Manuel Pellegrini to start alongside Karim Benzema in attack.
Real Madrid vs Espanyol â€“ first half:
Real Madrid kicked the first period in a wonderful manner, imposing themselves right from the start after suffering a very early scare from Espanyol inside the second minute.
However, things quickly went the home sideâ€™s way when Sergio Ramos opened the score line on four minutes. The defender finished off Esteban Graneroâ€™s cross from a right hand side free-kick to shock Espanyolâ€™s Cameroonian goalkeeper Kameni.
Sergio Ramos again was close to double Real Madridâ€™s tally when he once more hit the ball with his head from Graneroâ€™s ball during a corner.
At the visitorsâ€™ relief, Ramosâ€™ header flashed just wide.
However, more troubles were to come a few moment later as Ricardo Kaka converted Real Madridâ€™s second goal of the game.
Captain Raul was inches away from expanding his 16-goal record against Espanyol but his powerful header was impressively punched away by Carlos Kameni.
Unfortunately for the shot stopper, he couldnâ€™t prevent AC Milanâ€™s former ace Kaka from slaughtering the ball home. The Brazilian acrobatically scored on the rebound and eventually celebrated in delight.
For Kaka, getting his name on the scoring sheet was perhaps the perfect manner to put an end to the recent on-going speculations which specified that the star midfielder could be on his way to Juventus in exchange of Chiellini and Diego.
Real Madrid vs Espanyol â€“ second half:
In the second period, Real Madrid continued to dominate and their effective passing and pace on the ball visibly deprived Espanyol from playing their game. The final statistics underlined Los Blancosâ€™ authority; enjoyed as much as 63% of ball possession.
The visitors could thank the heavens for escaping an even bigger loss. Marcelo, Kaka again, and Alvaro Arbeloa all came close to increasing Real Madridâ€™s lead during the match.
In between time, Espanyol looked to threaten with Javi Marques certainly getting his sideâ€™s best chance. Still, Real Madrid kept terrorizing their opponents and Gonzalo Higuain rounded up the score line with a few moments of the game remaining.
The Argentine who was introduced in the game after 72 minutes in replacement of Karim Benzema combined with another substitute, Rafael Van der Vaart.
He received a fine long ball from the Dutch man who was in the center area of the pitch. Higuain made an excellent chest control before rounding up Kameni to drive the ball past the goal line.
Ironically, in the first leg of this fixture it was Cristiano Ronaldo who came on as a substitute with less than to do exactly what Gonzalo Higuain did: to score right at the dead of the match.
Real Madrid remain five points behind the leaders Barcelona who have 55 points in La Liga standings. Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to return for Los Blancos in their next match against Xerez this weekend.
Angela Asante, Footballfantalk.com