Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Ronaldo resting, Isco's 2 goals keeps Madrid on title track


He said: "Zidane makes the line-ups and is managing the squad in an extraordinary way". He was very excited when he came back but he knows it is nothing serious.

"Isco deserved this", said Marcelo, who went on as a second-half substitute for Madrid.

Ramos sent his header off target from a corner before Isco finally broke through Sporting's tiring rearguard when he drilled a right-foot shot past Cuellar which nestled just inside the post.

Isco's fine individual effort and a towering header from Alvaro Morata ensured neither lead lasted more than a few minutes.

On-loan Athletic Bilbao midfielder Mikel Vesga inventively made Sporting's first and put them ahead again with his first LaLiga goal five minutes into the second half.

All eyes will be on Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli as his side visits Valencia after stories that he will meet with members of the Argentina Football Association about taking over as national team coach against the wishes of his club, which needs a win in order to stay in the contest for third place with Atletico Madrid. "I'm more than satisfied with my players' ability to deal with their frustration after what happened in the Champions League".

Nevertheless, Zidane is putting his eggs in the Champions League quarterfinals basket, when Bayern Munich will be looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit on Wednesday.

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Real Madrid will have to continue its march toward its first Spanish league title in five years on Saturday without scoring trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Gareth Bale.

Isco received Lucas Vazquez's pass inside a crowded penalty area but somehow dribbled past two Sporting defenders before curling the ball into the top corner.

Real Sociedad has been an unhappy hunting ground for Barca, with the reverse fixture representing a seventh successive season without leaving the Anoeta with three points.

The first opportunity of the match came for Sporting in the eighth minute when Moi Gomez picked out the head of Duje Cop from a wide position, but the striker's downward effort was hacked clear by Nacho at the vital moment, before Vasquez headed a super Danilo cross over the crossbar down the other end.

Only Bale is an injury concern, one which Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane characterized as "just a setback", in a press conference.

Madrid, which has a game in hand, hosts Barcelona next round in a "clasico" match that will go a long way to determining the league champion.

After the match, Isco said he just wanted to spend less time on the bench.

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