Ronaldo, Bale & Benzema out for Madrid at Sporting

Posted April 16, 2017

Real can't afford to rest on their laurels as they now prepare for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern, a fixture made simpler by last Wednesday's 2-1 turnaround in Germany.

It was the sixth time this season Madrid have won a LaLiga game inside the final 10 minutes but Zidane refuted suggestions he is in charge of a lucky side.

A superlative solo goal from the 24-year-old in the 17th minute got Madrid on terms, three minutes on from Duje Cop's equally enjoyable opener.

Isco's outstanding performance saved coach Zinedine Zidane from paying a heavy price for resting nearly all his first-choice players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, for Madrid's big week ahead.

Defeat means Sporting remain five points from safety in 18th with just six games remaining.

However, back at the Nou Camp it is a very different story, with Barca winning their last 16 encounters in all competitions at Catalonia, putting five goals past them in four of the last nine.

Real Madrid's Isco, left, fights for the ball with Sporting de Gijon's Vesga during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Sporting de Gijon, at El Molinon stadium in Gijon, northern Spain, Saturday, Apri.

Sporting's joy was short-lived as Isco was allowed a touch too much room inside the area, shuffled away from Carlos Carmona, skipped past Vesga and Fernando Amorebieta, and lashed a shot into the top corner for a similarly high-quality equaliser.

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But the hosts swept into the lead after 14 minutes.

Lucas fired over in trying to emulate Isco's earlier heroics but Madrid could not turn sustained pressure into a half-time lead.

Once again, following a close shave, Sporting hit the front.

A deep free-kick was nodded back across the Madrid penalty area by Jean Babin and Vesga sent a looping headed up into the far corner to stun the LaLiga leaders again.

Zidane spoke at press conference after the important victory Real Madrid achieved against Sporting Gijón in the31st week of the regular season.

Danilo came close to scoring Real Madrid's third himself in the 62nd minute after meeting a deep free kick from James, but the Brazilian's header was wide, before Cop just missed the target with a curling effort down the other end. He deserves to play more minutes.

Madrid should have extended their lead at the start of the second half.

They beat Sociedad 5-2 here in the Copa del Rey and the visitors arrive in unconvincing form, having ended a four-match winless run - in which they scored just once - by beating lowly Sporting Gijon 3-1. Madrid also has a match in hand.

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