Isco stars as Real Madrid down Malaga
Liga, Estadio La Rosaleda – Malaga 1 (Rolán 90) Real Madrid 2 (Isco 29, Casemiro 63)
Isco was the star of the show as he returned to former club Malaga, scoring a stunning free kick as Real Madrid claimed a comfortable 2-1 win.
Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes to the side that scraped past Juventus in the Champions League during the week, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo all rested for the match at La Rosaleda.
The result saw Real Madrid climb above Valencia and back into third place in the Liga table, with Malaga posing no real threat. Isco opened the scoring with a free kick from 20 yards out, lifting his strike up and over the wall brilliantly, giving goalkeeper Roberto no chance.
Real Madrid doubled their lead in the second half when Karim Benzema, Isco and Casemiro all linked up to present the Brazilian midfielder with a golden opportunity to finish into an empty net from just six yards out. Diego Rolan scored a late consolation goal after a hapless clearance by Jesus Vallejo, but the points were already secured by then.
Isco celebratesGetty Images
TALKING POINT - Is Karim Benzema doing enough to justify his place at Real Madrid?
If you are to believe the Madrid press, both Bale and Benzema are playing for their futures at Real Madrid. Benzema in particular has come under fire, scoring just five times in La Liga this season. However, the Frenchman is playing well. He was one of the best players on the pitch against Malaga, but once again failed to find the net. So is he doing enough to justify his place at the Santiago Bernabeu?
MAN OF THE MATCH - Isco (Real Madrid)
Every so often Isco provides us all with a reminder of just how good he is. When he is in this form it’s difficult to envisage why Zidane would ever leave him on the bench. This was the playmaker at his best, scoring a stunning free kick against his former side to open the scoring in the first half. He was the one pulling the strings for Real Madrid throughout, dictating the play from his floating position in the final third. Isco might have found some late season form.
Isco Alarcon of Real Madrid competes for the ball with Ignasi Miquel of Malaga during the La Liga match between Malaga CF and Real Madrid CF at Estadio La Rosaleda on April 15, 2018 in Malaga, SpainGetty Images
Malaga - Roberto 6, Rosales 6, Torres 5, Ignasi 5, Ricca 6, Iturra 6, Lacen 5, Rolan 7, Adrian 5, Castro 6, Ideye 5. Subs - Lestienne 5, Bueno 4, Rodriguez 5.
Real Madrid - Navas 6, Carvajal 6, Vallejo 5, Ramos 6, Theo 5, Casemiro 7, Kovacic 8, Lucas 6, Asensio 5, Isco 8, Benzema 7. Subs - Ceballos 5, Mayoral 4.
16’ WHAT A SAVE! That was close to being the opener for Malaga. Kovacic arrived late in the box to get on the end of a cross, heading towards goal. But Roberto makes the flying save!
29’ GOAL! Malaga 0-1 Real Madrid: Isco has scored on his return to his former club! The playmaker got his freekick up and over the wall from 25 yards out, beating Roberto in the Malaga goal. An exceptional strike from Isco!
45’ NAVAS SAVE! Casemiro gets caught out, allowing Iturra clean through on goal! It was a huge mistake, but Navas comes off his line to smother the shot! What was Casemiro doing there?
50’ WAS THAT A PENALTY? Asensio is knocked over inside the penalty area, but the referee shakes his head and plays on. Replays show that it could have been a foul. Strong case.
62’ GOAL! Malaga 0-2 Real Madrid: It's an unlikely source for Real Madrid's second goal of the night! Benzema threads through Isco, who squares for Casemiro. With the goalkeeper off his line, the Brazilian has the simple finish from six yards out.
93’ GOAL! Malaga 1-2 Real Madrid: Malaga get themselves a consolation goal! Vallejo makes a mess of things in attempting to clear a cross into the box and Rolan makes no mistake in firing high into the roof of the net.
- Isco scored his first freekick of the season, having previously had seven attempts.
- After this defeat, Malaga have won just three of their last 34 games in all competitions against Real Madrid, drawing eight and losing 25.