Isco Leads Real to Malaga Win
MADRID (Dispatches) - Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were both rested and Real Madrid hardly broke sweat as they beat Malaga 2-1 on Sunday to climb to third in La Liga.
Isco scored one and set up another at La Rosaleda in a comfortable victory for a much-changed Real side, following Wednesday’s last-gasp Champions League win over Juventus.
Diego Rolan grabbed a consolation for Malaga with the last kick of the game but the result was never in doubt. “Today I can be happy with a job well done,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said. As well as Bale and Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Raphael Varane were left out, with the all-important Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich looming next week.
But Isco did his chances of a start in Germany no harm at all by bending in a free-kick that both Ronaldo and Bale would have been proud of, and then generously teeing up Casemiro when he might easily have finished himself.
After scoring his first Real goal in nine appearances against his former club, Isco held his hands up apologetically, and he enjoyed a warm reception from the Malaga fans when substituted in the second half.
“He has always been important, despite what everyone thinks,” Zidane said of Isco. “He is important, even if sometimes you think I have something else in my head.” Victory means Los Blancos leapfrog Valencia, who were beaten by Barcelona on Saturday, but remain four points behind Atletico Madrid in second.