Isco’s double helped Real Madrid beat a tricky-looking Athletic Bilbao and continue their 100% start to the La Liga season with a 3-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Isco scored a goal in both halves, with Cristiano Ronaldo in between, while Ibai grabbed a late consolation for Bilbao.
Angel Di Maria impressed for Real on the same day that Gareth Bale sealed a world record move from Tottenham Hotspur, while Isco took the headlines.
It took Real a while to get into their stride in the Madrid sunshine, but they could have took the lead in the 16th minute. Luka Modric’s defence split the Bilbao defence and Karim Benzema raced through on goal, but his chipped shot was easily saved by Iago Herrerin, who was filling in for the injured Iraizoz in the Bilbao goal.
The young goalkeeper was called into action just four minutes later when Isco spread the ball wide for Ronaldo in a good position. The Portugese winger came inside onto his favoured right foot and drove a powerful low shot at goal from 25 yards, but Herrerin did well to tip the ball around the post.
Herrerin would be beaten in the 26th minute as Isco grabbed his second goal of the season since signing for Real in the summer. Angel Di Maria’s perfect cross found the centre midfielder unmarked in the penalty area and the Spain international expertly finished past the goalkeeper to the roar of the home fans.
It was a goal that Madrid deserved and they doubled their lead in first half injury time. It was Di Maris pulling the strings again as his free-kick was swung in and met by Ronaldo’s free header and Herrerin was left with no chance as Ronaldo picked out the bottom corner from ten yards. It was a well-worked goal that left Bilbao with a long way to go to get back into the game.
The away side did come out with a renewed attacking impetus and had plenty of chances to pull a goal back. Aritz Aduriz did well to pull the ball back to the edge of the box and Andoni Iraola went for goal, but his shot was weak and comfortably saved by Diego Lopez. Just after, Markel Susaeta’s corner was met by Aymeric Laporte’s towering header at the back post, but he couldn’t hit the target and the ball flew into the stand behind the goal.
The chances kicked Real back into action and Ronaldo forced Herrerin into a good save from a 30 yard free-kick before the home side made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute. Benzema’s clever chipped pass gave Isco enough space to go for goal from 20 yards and his shot took a wicked deflection off of Benat before landing in the top corner away from Herrerin’s despairing dive.
Ronaldo was denied a second goal of the game as he raced on to Di Maria’s slide rule pass and came inside onto his right foot, but Herrera made a good save with his legs to keep put the low shot. Up the other end, Bilbao did get a deserved consolation goal in comedic circumstances. Iraola’s cut-back was spectacularly mishit by Susatea by Ibai was waiting to slam in past Lopez from six yards.
The win means Carlo Ancelotti’s side have upped the pressure on rivals Barcelona ahead of their trip to the Mestalla to play Valencia later this evening.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)