James Rodriguez Real Madrid equal Barca record with 16th straight win

James Rodriguez Real Madrid equal Barca record with 16th straight win
Rodriguez has scored more goals from outside the box than any other midfielder in Europe's top five leagues since 2014-15

Real Madrid beat Espanyol for a record-equalling 16th consecutive win in Spain’s top division and moved three points clear at the top of La Liga.

Goals from James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema gave them the win that matches the run of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side in the 2010-11 season.

Real, without Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo for the trip to the Cornella-El Prat stadium, made it four wins from four this season.

Barcelona are second on nine points.

Relive Real’s record-equalling win
Wales forward Bale picked up a hip problem in the 2-1 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday, while Portuguese star Ronaldo was ruled out with flu.

Colombia forward Rodriguez, who was linked with a move away from the Bernabeu in the summer, scored Real’s opener just before the break.

Receiving the ball from Toni Kroos 30 yards from goal, Rodriguez rode two challenges before shooting low into the corner past Diego Lopez.

Benzema doubled the lead on 70 minutes, meeting Lucas Vazquez’s low cross for a simple tap-in from close range.

The win maintains Real’s unbeaten start to the season and puts them on 12 points, ahead of Barcelona and Las Palmas on nine.

Former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has just two points from his opening four games since taking over at Espanyol in the summer.