Isco's late strike help Real Madrid sink Sporting Gijon in La Liga


As if the Real Madrid midfielder's early equaliser against Sporting Gijon wasn't good enough, Isco went on to seal the victory with a dramatic injury time victor.

Barca host Real Sociedad later on Saturday (19:45 BST), with their next La Liga match against Madrid in El Clasico next Sunday.

The visit to Gijon may feel like an easy trip and a secondary event with Bayern and Barcelona on the horizon, but Real Madrid will find a fighting Sporting ready to pounce if they show any weaknesses.

- Isco has had a hand in nine goals (seven scored, two assisted) in his last eight LaLiga starts for Real Madrid. He has the personality to do what he has done today and is a great player; I am happy with his game and also with the performance of the whole team. They need any points they can get even if that involves a superhuman effort against Real.

Real Madrid are now six points above Barcelona, having played the same number of games. "We're playing match-to-game".

If Bayern Munich is to have any chance of a sixth straight semifinal appearance in the Champions League it will have to do something that only one team has achieved this season - defeat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Only captain Sergio Ramos and Fernandez Nacho retained their places as James Rodriguez, Lucas Vazquez, Morata and Marco Asensio all coming in along with Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao for a rare start.

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The calculated risk taken by Zidane came close to backfiring.

"I've already said many times that I want to stay here for a long time and I hope that is what happens", Isco told Spanish outlet AS.

Isco's first goal was a superb solo effort in the 17th to cancel out Duje Cop's opener for Sporting. He received the ball on the edge of the area, beat two opponents with a handsome 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.

A looping header from Mikel Vesga put the Asturian side back in front five minutes into the second half but Real equalised again just before the hour through Alvaro Morata before Isco bagged a late victor.

And yet Real's reserves gathered enough composure to equalise soon after once again, this time with Morata producing a good header at the far post to penetrate the home outfit's defence for the second time in the match.

Now 24, Isco was supposed to be the future of Madrid's midfield when he transferred from Malaga in 2013.