Sporting Gijón 2-3 Real Madrid: Match report
Much has been written and said about a departure from Isco Alarcon from the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. This afternoon's performance from the Costa del Sol born midfielder will have either increased his market value significantly or more likely, placed serious question marks among those in the sporting department at the club pushing for a departure for the 24 year old. As Alfredo Relaño wrote afterwards, this match from Isco was a work of art. And here's Carlo Ancelotti's thoughts on the Real Madrid - Bayern Munich second leg at the Bernabéu, where it looks likely Isco will start.
After a dazzling 17th minute left foot strike that immediately brought Madrid back into the game after Duje Cop had put the home side ahead, the player from Benalmedena offered a display of poise, vision and elegance that could be used by coaches around the world anxious to train youngsters who aspire to play in a central position.
As it appeared that the game was destined for a tie that suited neither the title aspirations of Real Madrid nor aided Sporting from a slide towards second tier football next season, up stepped the midfielder in added time to fire home a right footed shot that caught out the un-sighted 'Pichu' Cuellar in the Sporting goal to secure a win for Zidane's men is a fiercely fought competition at El Molinon.
Sporting will lament their loss despite being ahead twice during the game but at the end of the contest it was the side from the capital who pushed and looked the likelier to win through.
Time is running out as we reach the "business end" of the 2016/17 campaign and it's wins like that of today's at El Molinon that will go some way in ensuring that the engravers on the LaLiga trophy come May will be etching the name of Real Madrid onto the silver cup.
Sporting Gijón 2-3 Real Madrid: Full time
Min 94 | Madrid now wasting time hoping for the FT whistle ...and there it is, the points head to the Spanish capital and Madrid edge that bit closer to their first league title since 2012.
Min 92 | How big is that Isco goal going to be in the quest for the title ? This time the Costa del Sol player unleashing a right footed drive that sneaks into the Sporting net. A big, big goal !
Min 91 | Alvaerz off for Sporting and Afif on...Card for Afif after a trip on Asensio
Min 91 | Gooooooooooooooooool, Isco again !
Min 90 | Into the final minute. Madrid pressing, Sporting defending...
Min 88 | It's all Real Madrid in Gijon as Sporting defend desperately. Card for Morata after complaining. Casemiro is on as Kovacic makes way.
Min 87 | Cases makes the book too after a trip on Isco. Casemiro ready to make an entrance for Madrid.
Min 84 | Free kick awarded for Madrid, possibly too far out for a shot on target but Madrid sense Sporting's fatigue levels.
Min 83 | Ramos heads an Isco corner (off target) as both sides push for a late winner.
Min 81 | Mariano goes close with the striker failing to got direction on his powerful driven header.
Min 78 | Tiredness kicking in as the game becomes more open with plenty of space on the pitch. Late challenge from Lopez on Nacho sees another card for Sporting.
Cop off for Sporting as Ndi comes on.
Min 75 | Into the final 15'. Madrid on top but Sporting looking dangerous on the break. The game beautifully poised !
Min 74 | Now James goes close with another trademark left footed drive that goes wide.
Min 72 | Madrid go close as Isco makes a sensational mazy run beating Sporting defenders with ease, the ball breaks to Marcelo who sees his rasping shot go agonisingly wide. Madrid looking the likelier to score as we enter the final phase of the game.
Min 71 | Lucas Vazquez the player who makes way for Mariano.
Min 70 | Dominican Republic international Mariano set to join the action as Zidane rotates the squad conscious of the midweek game against Bayern.
Min 69 | Cases on for Sporting and Moi Gomez makes way after a discreet performance from the No. 23.
Min 66 | First change imminent for Sporting as Nacho Cases set to make his entry to the action.
Min 64 | Fine cross from Asensio who finds Morata inches offside. Both sides pushing for that all important third goal with a draw suiting neither side.
Min 63 | Isma Lopez goes close for Sporting after an excellent mazy run but his right footed effort is wide and fails to trouble Casilla.
Min 61 | Card for Lillo after an incident with Morata
Min 60 | Fine cross from Danilo and expertly met by Morata who out-jumps Babin and heads home.
Min 59 | Gollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, Morata draws Madrid level.
Min 57 | Marcelo enters the fray and indeed it's the Portuguese player who makes way. A decent shift from Coentrao.
Min 55 | Marcelo warming up for Real Madrid and may replace Coentrao who will be lacking match fitness.
Min 52 | James tries his luck from long range but his left foot drive is struck straight at Cuellar.
Min 50 | Babin heads and Vesga nods a looper that dips in just under the bar past Casilla to put the Asturian outfit in front again.
Min 49 | Goooooooooooooooooooooooool Vesga puts the home side in front
Min 48 | Isco fouled just outside the area and danger for the Sporting rear-guard. Isco and James over the ball as the ball as Nacho heads and the ball trickles by the goal line with Morata just needing to glance the ball to steer home.
Min 46 | We're underway in Asturias with the official match attendance confirmed as 25.745
Half-time analysis: A result that suits neither side in a game, that despite two excellently taken goals has failed to come alive. Sporting were first to strike after a delightful lobbed assist from Mikel Vesga found Croatian player Cop who volleyed home on 14 minutes. Just as the Sporting fans had finished celebrating Isco was on hand to bring Madrid level with the Benalmadena born player jinking past the Sporting rear-guard and unleashing a raspìng shot that left 'Pichu' Cuellar with no chance. Little else of note in a game that has yet to fire up the packed El Molinon crowd and worthy of a mention is a solid performance from Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao, making his first team start in 164 days !
Min 45 | That's it for the first period as Fernandez Borbolan calls time on proceedings.
Min 43 | Dangerous free-kick for Madrid as Lopez holds Danilo back... James Rodriqguez territory ! Ball deflected for a corner.
Min 41 | ...y mete un gol .... sing the Sporting fans on a loop (basically score a goal ...) through a dubious sounding loudhailer
Min 39 | Words exchanged between Asensio and Lillo after an off the ball incident as Lucas Vazquez fires over for Madrid,
Min 37 | The game comes alive as Madrid launch a counter attack with the home side fortunate not to concede an own goal after a great run from Kovacic and fine ball from James.
Min 34 | Sergio Alvarez has the honour of being the first name in match official Borbolan's notebook this afternoon for a trip on Lucas Vazquez.
Min 32 | Coentrao the most efficient passer of the ball for Madrid we're being told with 35 accurate passes in the game so far!
Min 31 | The ball is in the Sporting net but Lucas Vazquez flagged (correctly) for offside.
Min 30 | A lull in the game so a stat attack: Possession after 30': Sporting 35-65% Real Madrid
Min 25 | Robust challenge from Nacho (on four yellows) and fortunate not to receive a fifth that would rule him out of El Clasico.
Min 23 | Madrid in the ascendancy now at El Molinon with Sporting looking to strike on the break.
Min 18 | An excellent strike from the Costa del Sol born player finding the top corner with a inch perfect drive just inside the area. Sporting were in front for all of 2 minutes.
Min 17 | Gooooooooooooooooooooool, Isco fires Madrid level
Min 16 | The assist from Vesga was a delight and reminiscent of the goal scored against Sporting at Anoeta on Monday when Xabi Prieto delivered a similar ball for Juanmi.
Min 15 | 9th goal from the Croatian for the 16/17 season
Min 14 | Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool as Sporting take the lead ...Duje Cop!!!
Min 13 | Where r where was Fernando Amorebieta when Danilo crossed ? Very lax from the defemder!
Min 12 | Danger as Madrid go close, Danilo centres and Lucas Vazquez heads over from close range. Could have (and should have) been the opener.
Min 10 | Whisper it...Fabio Coentrao is currently Madrid's best player with the Portuguese defending well and looking good on the counter!
Min 7 | Plenty of hustle and bustle at El Molinon as Sporting go close as Madrid clear their lines.
Min 5 | Deportivo's earlier win (2-0) at home to Malaga will have done no favours for Sporting's relegation-avoiding cause and with just seven games remaining for the Asturian side, a win is essential today.
Min 3 | Despite the game being sold out, still one or two empty seats at El Molinon this afternoon.
Min 2 | First touch for Coentrao with the Portuguese defender making his first start since the Legia Warsaw Champions League game.
Min 1 | Madrid get us underway at a packed El Molinon.
Min 1 | A minutes silence will be held in memory of former Sporting president Ramon Muñoz.
Welcome to our live coverage of Sporting Gijón as the host LaLiga leaders Real Madrid at El Molinón in week 32. As well as our preview, match odds below, we'll be building up to the 16:15 (CEST) kick-off throughout the day.
Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid: latest news
16:12 | The teams take to the pitch at El Molinon. Sporting in their traditional red and white stripes, blue shorts and Madrid in their classic all white.
16:10 | Fancy a late flutter on the match? A home win pays out at 7/1 whilst a win for Zidane's men earns a euro 36 cents for every euro placed.
16:05 | Things are different at the top of the table as Real Madrid have a game in hand (away to Celta) and hold a three point advantage over second placed FC Barcelona.
16:00 | Seven games remain in the 16/17 campaign and anything but a win for Sporting is another nail in the coffin as they slip towards the Segunda division. The Asturian side lie in 18th and are in trouble.
15:55 | Kick-off growing closer as El Molinon starts to fill with fans. A nippy spring day in Asturias with a brisk 14C degrees but the good news is that we have a 0% chance of precipitation (rain to you and me) during the match.
15:40 | Real Madrid bagged three LaLiga points against Sporting on that wet November day thanks to a brace from CR7 .
15:35 | On that November day, Madrid sported their "Parley for their Oceans" kit, made from recycled bottles. Here's a recap from that rain-soaked day.
15:30 | When both sides met at the Bernabeu earlier this season, Real Madrid won with a narrow 2-1 scoreline and things could have been so much different hadn't Duje Cop skied his late penalty for the Asturian side.
15:25 | Nine changes from the team that took to the field in Munich with only Ramos and Nacho remaining from that starting XI.
15:20 | So a rare, rare start for Fabio Coentrao in what is being called Zidane's "B" team !
Confirmed Sporting starting XI: Cuellar, Babin, Lilo, Moré, Amorebieta, Lopez, Carmona, Alvaro, Vesga, Moi Gomez, Cop.
Confirmed Real Madrid starting XI: Casilla, Danilo, Ramos, Nacho, Coentrao, Kovacic, James, Isco, Lucas, Morata & Asensio
14:50 | Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos offered beIN Sports some interesting comments on Barcelona rival and Spain team-mate Gerard Piqué this week. Here's what he had to say.
14:00 | Real Madrid's visit to El Molinón is the perfect excuse to relive this absolute stunner from Raúl González Blanco in 1997. Tasty.
13:45 | Reports emerged on Friday of an alleged sexual assault by Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009 - claims that the Real Madrid star has strongly refuted.
13:05 | With crunch clashes against Bayern Munich and Barcelona coming up, Real boss Zinedine Zidane has opted to rest several regulars.
12:10 | Barcelona are also in action later in the day, hosting Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou - and we're also building up to that match.
11:45 | Once you're done perusing our preview, don't forget to take a look at our useful guide on how and where to watch Sporting vs Real.
11:10 | Why not get yourself prepped for Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid with a read of our match preview?
10:55 | Good morning! Stay with us for the build-up ahead of this afternoon's clash at El Molinón!
Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid: match preview
Real Madrid have to forget about their heroics in Germany on Wednesday and return to the task at hand in LaLiga. They travel to El Molinón on Saturday to take on relegation contenders in Asturias
Last time out, Madrid drew 1-1 with city-rivals Atlético Madrid, after a late goal from Antoine Griezmann denied Zinedine Zidane's side three points. Sporting are winless in three and their last result was uninspired 3-1 defeat to Real Sociedad, as the time of reckoning comes with them sitting in the relegation zone.
Zinedine Zidane is without Gareth Bale for the trip north as he admits he is worried about the player. Bale picked up a calf injury against Bayern Munich with Zidane suggesting it is a knock-on effect from his long-term layoff with an ankle injury recently.
Cristiano Ronaldo could be rested after bagging his 99th and 100th goals in European football on Wednesday. Benzema, who has been lauded for his commitment in dropping weight to ensure he is at his peak as the season draws to a close, could also make way for Alvaro Morata.
It would be unlikely that Zidane messes around with his defense any more than he needs to with Pepe and Raphael Varane already ruled out. Nacho and Sergio Ramos will be in the centre of his back four with Marcelo and Dani Carvajal likely to flank the two Spaniards.
Meanwhile, James and Isco are in contention with the latter not starting or coming on in the midweek win in the Champions League. Although, James is seen as more of a Champions League player recently, according to the stats.
Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid: match facts
Sporting have won just once in their last 15 games against Real Madrid. That win didn't even come at El Molinón. They beat their opponents from the capital in April 2011 thanks to a Miguel de las Cuevas goal.
Real Madrid have scored in their last 42 games in LaLiga and have hit the back of the net in 53 consecutive games if you count European competition.
Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid: potential line-ups
Sporting Gijón: Cuellar, Lillo, Meré, Amorebieta, Canella, Torres, Vesga, Alvarez, Rodriguéz, Carmona, Viguera.
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Isco, Asensio, Morata, James.
Sporting Gijón vs Real Madrid: match odds
If you fancy the home side to win today against the league leaders you can turn €10 into €70 with odds of 7/1. The same is being offered for Isco to open the scoring.