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Real Madrid finally win at home thanks to Isco double

Real finally win at home thanks to Isco double

01/10/2017 at 19:37Updated 01/10/2017 at 23:31

La Liga, Bernabeu - Real Madrid 2 (Isco 30', 71')

Isco bagged a brace as Real Madrid returned to winning ways at home, seeing off Espanyol to claim their first league victory of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes to his side, with the absence of Dani Carvajal and Marcelo resulting in a debut for 18-year-old Moroccan full back Achraf Hakimi. The youngster held his own, although Espanyol made things tough for him at the start of the second half.

Real Madrid's midfielder Isco celebrates his second goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs RCD Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 1, 2017.

Real Madrid's midfielder Isco celebrates his second goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs RCD Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 1, 2017.Getty Images

By that time, Real Madrid were already ahead through Isco’s opener, but the visitors’ renewed intensity and tempo after the restart changed the dynamic of the contest. It was Isco again, though, who settled things with a second after 71 minutes, finishing with composure after a break away from Marco Asensio.

The win lifts Real Madrid to fifth place in the table, with Barcelona still holding a seven-point lead over their rivals following their win over Las Palmas at an empty Camp Nou earlier in the day. This must be the start of a recovery for Zidane’s side.

TALKING POINT

Was this the start of Real Madrid’s recovery? This was Real Madrid’s fourth home game of the new league season, yet this was the first time they had claimed three points. Zidane’s side had previously dropped points to Valencia and Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu before suffering a shock defeat to Real Betis last time out. So was this the start of the recovery? It wasn’t a vintage Real performance, but at least they won.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs RCD Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 1, 2017.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs RCD Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 1, 2017.Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH

Isco (Real Madrid) With Ronaldo misfiring, it was up to Isco to take a grip of things for Real Madrid against Espanyol. The playmaker has become of the most important players at the Santiago Bernabeu over the past few months and that was on display this evening. At a time when the Spanish and European champions are struggling for form at home, Isco was the one who took on the responsibility to drive Real Madrid forward, delivering with a double.

Real Madrid's midfielder Isco celebrates his second goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs RCD Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 1, 2017.

Real Madrid's midfielder Isco celebrates his second goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs RCD Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 1, 2017.Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid - Navas 6, Achraf 6, Varane 7, Ramos 6, Nacho 6, Casemiro 6, Kroos 7, Modric 6, Isco 8, Asensio 7, Ronaldo 6. Subs - Ceballos 5, Mayoral 5, Vazquez 5.

Espanyol - Pau 8, Lopez 6, Aaron 6, Gerard 5, Jurado 5, Baptistao 4, Lopez 6, Fuego 5, Roca 5, Hermoso 7, Sanchez 5, Dardar 7. Subs - Navarro 7, Granero 6, Garcia 6.

KEY MOMENTS

2’ CHANCE FOR ISCO! Real Madrid should be ahead after 24 seconds! Isco was played clean through Ramos from deep, but Lopez came off his line to smother the shot from the playmaker.

26’ WHAT A SAVE! That looked certain to be the opener for Real Madrid! Ronaldo crosses into the box for Ramos to attack, with the defender powering a header towards goal. But Lopez tips it over the bar.

30’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol: Real Madrid have made the breakthrough on the half hour mark! Ronaldo slots through Isco, who had made an excellent run in behind to toe poke a finish underneath Lopez. The hosts have the lead!

Isco Alarcon of Real Madrid CF celebrates with Nacho after scoring his team's opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Espanyol at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 1, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.

Isco Alarcon of Real Madrid CF celebrates with Nacho after scoring his team's opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Espanyol at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 1, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.Getty Images

44’ OFF THE POST! Espanyol were inches away from finding an equaliser, with Moreno cracking a low shot off the base of the post. That would have been a remarkable development.

70’ ALMOST THE EQUALISER! Ramos is robbed of the ball inside his own penalty box, but Baptistao couldn't force it home into the empty net when the ball was played across goal.

71’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol: Darder loses the ball in the middle of the pitch, with Asensio cutting back a pass to Isco just inside the box. The playmaker found the bottom corner with a composed finish.

KEY STATS

Marco Asensio has been involved in more goals than any other Real Madrid player in La Liga this season (four).

Isco has scored more goals than any other La Liga midfielder since the start of 2017 (in all competitions) - 11.

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