Gerard Moreno was the hero for the hosts, slamming home a half-volley deep into injury time, as Quique Sanchez Flores’ side recorded their first victory over Madrid since 2007.
Ronaldo had scored eight goals in his last two trips to the RCDE Stadium but Zidane opted to leave the Portuguese forward at home, no doubt with next week’s Champions League second leg against Paris Saint-Germain in mind.
Minus their top scorer, as well as the influential midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, a much-changed Madrid struggled for fluency against opponents they have recently put to the sword.
The Spanish champions saw their run of five wins in all competitions come to an unexpected end at a venue that has seen LaLiga’s heavyweights struggle this season.
Having already held runaway leaders Barcelona, as well as inflicting Atletico Madrid’s solitary league defeat so far in the campaign, Espanyol stunned their illustrious opponents with Moreno’s dramatic winner.
eyes were on Gareth Bale to provide the firepower for Madrid, yet he couldn’t mark his landmark 116th LaLiga appearance – equalling David Beckham’s record for a British player in the competition – by finding the net.
The Welshman had his team’s best chance in the contest, sending a close-range header straight at Diego Lopez, who reacted quickly to palm the ball down before gratefully collecting the rebound, in the early stages.