Real Madrid moved top of La Liga after Marco Asensio’s strike proved enough to secure all three points.
Madrid was without Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Toni Kroos and still find a way to snatch a victory.
Asensio drilled in a low shot in the 41st minute when Luka Modric’s effort deflected into his path, with the goal given after a lengthy review.
Espanyol almost leveled the scoreline when a cute Borja Iglesias chip rebounded off the crossbar.
The victory takes Julen Lopetegui’s side above rivals Barcelona, who can retake the top spot with a draw or victory against Girona on Sunday.
Watch all the goals below.