A spectacular free-kick from Isco and a Casemiro tap-in earned Champions League semi-finalists Real Madrid a 2-1 win at Malaga on Sunday, nudging the Spaniard's former side closer towards relegation.
Zinedine Zidane left stars including Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale out of his squad after Madrid survived a dramatic fightback by Juventus in midweek, with Marcelo and Toni Kroos named on the bench.
But despite the changes made by the Frenchman, Madrid eased to a fifth consecutive away victory in all competitions thanks to a sublime showing from the increasingly influential Isco.
A fine free-kick from the playmaker that curled away from Roberto Jimenez was the 25th set-piece goal scored by Madrid, more than any LaLiga club this season, giving Zidane's men a first-half lead.
Isco then teed up Casemiro to slot home the decisive second after the break for the visitors, who won the title on their visit to La Rosaleda last season, Madrid moving above Valencia into third place in the table despite Diego Rolan's 93rd-minute consolation.
Malaga pull one back at the very end from Diego Rolan
Casemiro makes it 2-0 with a tap-in
Isco gives Real the lead with a perfect free-kick.
Now for Malaga!
Team sheets are in! First up Real Madrid!
Real Madrid will be hoping to return to winning ways when they head to the bottom of the table Malaga on Sunday evening. As ever you can watch all the action Live & Exclusive via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
Real may have just scraped through in the Champions League and will now turn their attention to the league. Los Blancos are currently in fourth place in the league and know that a victory will see them leap-frog Valencia into third place.
Despite being 14 points away from safety, Malaga still have the potential to trouble Zidane’s side and the French coach made that clear in the pre-match press conference. "I've seen them (Malaga) and their position is surprising. It's going to be difficult, but we're going there to win and they are going to make the most of it."
In team news, Isco & Nacho are set to miss out after suffering knocks in the 3-1 defeat to Juventus mid-week. Karim Benzema is expected to lead the line. As for Malaga, they should welcome back Ignasi Miquel back into the side, whilst Diego Gonzalez is a doubt after suffering a knock in training on Friday.
After a dramatic mid-week in the Champions League can Real Madrid return to winning ways against the bottom of the table Malaga? You can watch all the action Live & Exclusive via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.