A much-changed Real Madrid edged past basement club Malaga 2-1 to leapfrog Valencia into third place in LaLiga.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were left out completely as Zinedine Zidane made six changes from the Champions League home defeat to Juventus but they ran out comfortable winners thanks to Isco’s superb free-kick and Casemiro’s second-half finish.
Diego Rolan scored with the last touch of the match to halve the deficit but defeat leaves Malaga on the verge of relegation as they sit 14 points adrift of safety with six matches remaining – their fate will be sealed if they lose to 17th-placed Levante on Thursday.
Tweet of the match
Star man – Isco
The former Malaga forward only lasted 72 minutes but still managed to score one, set up another and receive a standing ovation from the home crowd as he was replaced by Borja Mayoral in the second half. He was a thorn in Malaga’s side throughout and richly deserved his wonderful opener, while also showing great awareness to assist Casemiro for Real’s second.
Stat of the match
Malaga’s terrible record against Los Blancos continued. Real Madrid secured their 27th victory against Albicelestes in their last 36 matches in all competitions, with eight of those drawn. Malaga’s only triumph in their history against the 33-time LaLiga champions was in December 2012 – a 3-2 home win with Isco on the scoresheet for the hosts. Zidane also secured his 100th win as Real Madrid head coach in his 140th match in charge.
Moment of the match
The opening goal showed the first real bit of quality in the match when Isco haunted his former club. A jinking run from the 25-year-old saw him pulled back by Roberto Rosales and despite the soft free-kick, Isco made no mistake to curl the ball over the wall and into the bottom corner, leaving goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez with no chance.
Malaga: Roberto Jimenez 7, Federico Ricca 6, Ignasi Miquel 6, Miguel Torres 6, Roberto Rosales 5, Manuel Iturra 6, Medhi Lacen 5, Diego Rolan 6, Adrian 5, Chory Castro 5, Brown Ideye 5. Subs: Alberto Bueno (for Lacen, 53) 6, Ivan Rodriguez (for Miquel, 71) 5, Maxime Lestienne (for Ideye, 78) 5.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas 7, Dani Carvajal 7, Jesus Vallejo 7, Sergio Ramos 7, Theo Hernandez 6, Casemiro 6, Isco 8, Mateo Kovacic 7, Lucas Vasquez 6, Marco Asensio 5, Karim Benzema 5. Subs: Dani Ceballos (for Asensio, 66) 6, Borja Mayoral (for Isco 72) 6.
Who’s up next?
Levante v Malaga (LaLiga, April 19)
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao (LaLiga, April 18)