Isco stars in Real win over Malaga

Real Madrid extended their unbeaten run in La Liga to six games with a 2-1 win over rock-bottom Malaga at La Rosaleda.

Malaga 1 Real Madrid 2
Roberto denies Kovacic early on
Isco (29′) opens scoring with free-kick
Iturra kept out by Navas just before HT
Casemiro (63′) nets from close range
Rolan (90′) capitalises on Vallejo mistake

Match Summary

Isco bossed the first half against his former employers and scored a deserved opener on 29 minutes to give Zinedine Zidane’s side a 1-0 lead at the break.

Malaga passed up good opportunities to equalise before Casemiro doubled Real’s lead on 63 minutes, although Diego Rolan managed to pull one back with the last kick of the match.

Full Report

The visitors looked for a fast start and created a chance after just two minutes as Mateo Kovacic fed Lucas Vazquez on the counter and the winger cut the ball back for Karim Benzema, who fired wide on the half-volley.

Benzema skied his next attempt on 14 minutes after Isco released him on the right, while Kovacic forced Roberto into a save with his downward header from Vazquez’s cross two minutes later.

Jose Gonzalez’s men threatened for the first time on 22 minutes when Gonzalo Castro volleyed over a knockdown inside the box. Real quickly went up the other end of the pitch to go close through Vazquez, who blasted over from 10 yards out following good work from Isco to play him in.

Benzema missed another opportunity to break the deadlock when he steered a header wide at the back post from Dani Carvajal’s cross in the 25th minute, but Real were celebrating the opener four minutes later.

Isco was the scorer as he curled a free-kick over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net, with Roberto well beaten.

The former Malaga midfielder almost struck again four minutes later with a right-footed effort that he dragged wide of the left post from Marco Asensio’s lay-off.

Vazquez tested Roberto at his near post on 36 minutes after surging down the right flank. The home keeper was relieved to see Isco shoot straight at him two minutes later when the Spain international pounced on a loose ball.

The hosts finished the half strongly as they looked for a way back into the match. Roberto Rosales just cleared the crossbar with a curling free-kick in the 42nd minute and Navas denied Manuel Iturra with his legs two minutes later when the Chilean midfielder raced through on goal after stealing the ball off Casemiro.

Malaga kept up the pressure and Iturra lined up a long-range shot that was deflected over the bar in the final minute, before Miguel Torres guided an effort wide at the back post from the resulting corner.

But Los Blancos found a second goal on 63 minutes as they cut the home defence apart with a neat passing move. Benzema held up the ball on the edge of the box and played in Isco on the left with a neat pass and the Spaniard’s first-time square-ball was converted by Casemiro from six yards out.

Castro nearly found a quick response for Malaga from a free-kick on 68 minutes that he curled over the wall, although he was unable to beat Navas, who punched the ball clear.

Chances continued to come at both ends as Borja Mayoral hit a shot straight at Roberto after being teed up on the edge of the area by Kovacic on 77 minutes. Maxime Lestienne then only just failed to pick out the bottom-left corner of the net with a curling left-footed strike from 18 yards out on the right four minutes later.

Navas was alert to the danger when he palmed a cross-shot from Rosales on the right over the bar on 85 minutes, and Roberto pulled off a sharp save to deny Sergio Ramos from close range a minute later when Benzema slid in his skipper.

But Navas would be denied a clean sheet as the basement club scored a consolation goal in stoppage time. Jesus Vallejo made a hash of his clearance from Ricca’s cross on the left and Rolan was well placed to slot past the Costa Rican stopper from six yards out.