Isco and Maehle, in an action of the match.TIZIANA FABI / AF
P When it was time to cross the Champions League bridge, Isco. Suddenly, the man from Malaga returned to the great catwalk. In reality, there were not many other options in the face of the injury pandemic in Madrid and with Benzema on the stretcher : it was Isco, Mariano's agitation or a squad by surprise. And it was Isco. An emergency situation required a solution that, despite the scarcity of alternatives, sounded exceptional when looking at the recent past. This season he barely added 13 meager minutes in Europe, in the freezing of Kiev ; His deep hair had not been seen against any of the most important rivals (Barcelona, Atlético, Sevilla and Inter); And he only added one starting title in three months, and above in the cupbearer disaster in Alcoy.
Zidane understood that, without his forward Benzema, the goal problem had no definitive solution, so he opted to enhance the ability to pass. Located as a false nine, Isco used himself thoroughly in the associative game. ZZ's plan was to cushion the announced vertigo of Atalanta with a touch football, and the Malaga player found himself in his sauce.
AtalantaPierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero, Rafael Tolói, Djimsiti, Remo Freuler, Joakim Maehle (Palomino, min. 84), Marten de Roon, Robin Gosens, Matteo Pessina, Duván Zapata (Pasalic, min. 29) and Luis Muriel (Josip Ilicic, min. 55) Real MadridCourtois, Varane, Lucas Vázquez, Ferland Mendy, Nacho, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Vinicius Junior (Mariano, min. 56), Isco (Hugo Duro, min. 75) and Marco Asensio (Sergio Arribas, min. 75) Goals0-1 min. 85: Ferland Mendy. Referee Tobias Stieler Yellow cards Casemiro (min. 22), Ferland Mendy (min. 54) and Robin Gosens (min. 70) Red cards Remo Freuler (min. 16)
Against 11 and much more in superiority after the expulsion of Freuler at quarter of an hour, the merengue team got bored of rubbing and rubbing the ball, with Isco shoveling into the fire of the pass. 710 good were added by Madrid (its second highest figure of the course after 733 from San Siro) by 269 from Atalanta, a win in which the Malaga player contributed fifty, the most from the attack zone. The problem was the shallow depth of all, hardly relieved by episodic actions, such as a good delivery from Isco to Vinicius.
“He has done very well in a position that is not his,” Zizou praised him. "Knowing that they play with three behind, he came out so that he was between the lines and that he controlled possession, with Vinicius and Marco [Asensio] giving depth," said the French coach. It was in ZZ's mind that the team had more spaces, but the expulsion changed the landscape.
Isco took center stage in that circulation game that barely disturbed Gasperini's boys until Mendy , a closed left-hander, happened to get out of the script and hole from outside the area with the right to take the party out of slumber and hit a bite to the tie . Until then, Atalanta, of which there was barely a trace of its centrifuge in attack, was leaving without scratches behind the slow deployment of the Madridistas despite playing almost the entire duel with one man less and without Zapata due to injury from the average hour.
Starting from the top, Isco was the attacker who mixed the most with Kroos (10 passes) and Modric (six). And also who had the most presence in the opposite area in the first half. The foul from which Freuler's expulsion came was executed by him despite the fact that he had the German next to him, later he scrambled as he could with his back to a lateral pass from Modric and from his boots came a good assist to Vinicius on the best occasion from Madrid until the break, which the Brazilian diluted in his classic entanglement against the rival goalkeeper.
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Isco's start appearance caused a change system because no other occasion is remembered, much less of this size, in which Zidane has left without a nine. The few times Benzema has been absent, the substitutes were first Jovic and then Mariano. But the former went into exile in Germany and the agitation of the latter, a replacement in the four games that the Frenchman has missed due to injury this season, did not offer ZZ sufficient guarantees to be in the game. The Hispanic Dominican came out at the time of the game instead of a dead Vinicius, a change that shortened Isco's position to the left side of the attack until he was substituted in the 75th minute by Hugo Duro.
As Zidane warned a few weeks ago about the players who had fallen into the storage room, everything can change in a minute. Isco's life improved, at least temporarily, on the trip to Italy, where he offered his most acceptable version of the year. The player for whom ZZ bet so much in his first stage (he undid the attack BBC to add him as a fourth half) and in the second (he filed as soon as he returned the disciplinary file that Solari had opened to him), regained a privileged place two months after his exit from the club in the winter market was on the table.