Isco brace sees Real Madrid maintain top spot

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The two goals from the midfielder, the second coming in the 90th minute, and one from Morata, sealed the win for the Whites against Sporting, having come from behind twice.

Zidane has said many times this season that “all of the players in the squad are going to be important”. Today it was demonstrated again in El Molinón.

Without the BBC and with Kroos, Modric, Marcelo and Casemiro on the bench, the Whites came from behind twice to add three more points that see them top the table for another week. The key today was Isco´s performance, who capped off a great game by scoring the winner in the 90th minute. There are now only seven matches between the Whites and their objective (six for the rest of their rivals).

Although Real Madrid dominated from the start, creating good chances, it was Sporting who struck first. Vesga provided the assist for Cop, who arrived late, striking the ball first time to beat Casilla in the 14th minute. It was time for a comeback and the home side´s lead only lasted 3 minutes.

Up stepped Isco with a great bit of individual skill. He received the ball on the edge of the area, beat two opponents with a beautiful bit of skill with his heel, then fooled the next defender before placing the ball in the top corner of Cuéllar´s goal with a precise left-footed shot.

From then until the end of the first half it was all Real Madrid, who had two clear opportunities to go in to the break in front. Kovacic started a counterattack in the 37th minute before setting up James whose cross was denied by Meré, saving his team on the goal line. A minute later it was Lucas Vazquez who tried his luck and his effort went just over from the edge of the area.

The second half couldn’t have got off to a worse start and that was despite Real Madrid coming close to getting their noses in front after James’ 48th-minute free-kick was met by Nacho and the ball danced along the goalline.

However, in the very next move, Sporting regained their lead from a free-kick that was flicked on by Babín to Vesga, whose headed effort looped into the net. The hosts’ ruthlessness in front of goal was simply remarkable.

It looked like being an uphill struggle for Madrid, but the Whites quickly produced a response as they pinned the home side back into their box and they were duly rewarded.

Danilo whipped in an inch-perfect cross on 59′ and Morata produced an equally fine header to level things. The Brazilian could have then put the visitors ahead three minutes later when he met James’ free-kick, only to see his headed effort whistle inches wide of the target.

The hosts’ domination was becoming increasingly evident and Marcelo, who had come on in place of Coentrão, came close to rewarding the leaders’ superiority with a strike from the edge of the area after a sublime piece of play from Isco on 72′.

The Spanish international got away from two defenders with some textbook control and evaded the attentions of the three other defenders who looked to halt his progress. This was a foretaste of the move which capped off a memorable display from Isco.
Just as it appeared as if the game was destined to finish all square, he collected the ball on the edge of the box and caught Cuéllar out with a low drilled effort which crept inside the near post.
The league leaders show no signs of letting up and collected another three precious points as attentions now turn to the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern.

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