One moment of skill encapsulated an ostentatious performance from Isco, who was the protagonist as a second-string Real Madrid side overpowered Deportivo in Galicia. With the ball on the edge of the box, the diminutive midfielder pirouetted, before flicking the ball towards Alvaro Morata with a backheel on-the-spin.
Isco scored a goal after 77 minutes, Madrid's fifth, to cap off a fine display, before leaving the pitch to bregrudging respect from the home support. The result leaves Real Madrid and Barcelona equal on 78 points at the top of La Liga, with the former having played one match less.
Real Madrid began the match under pressure to match Barcelona's positive result at home to Osasuna, who became the first team to fall to the second division this season. Zidane's team selection raised eyebrows; Marcelo and Nacho the only survivors from Sunday's Clásico loss.
Yet the visitors surged out of the starting blocks. Concerns regarding the strength of the team immediately subsided. Literally. The clock had barely registered 50 seconds when Morata latched on to a through ball from Isco, and arrowed a fierce shot in to the roof of the net.
In the early stages, Madrid launched attack, after attack, after attack. By the time James doubled the lead on 14 minutes, stabbing a low cross from Lucas beyond Germán Lux, Los Blancos had already let several guilt-edged chances slip by. Alvaro Morata, despite his early goal, was particularly profligate.
As Florin Andone, impressive in attack for Deportivo, turned a miscued shot by Gael Kakuta in to the roof of the net after 35 minutes, it looked like Real Madrid could be made to rue missed chances.
The home side imposed themselves on the match, they established a threat. Yet Lucas Vázquez put an end to any serious hope of a comeback, turning home from close range on the brink of half time.
The second half flowed with an enjoyable inevitability.
Isco created James' second goal on 66 minutes, dumbfounding the defence with a couple of quick stepovers threading a pass to Morata, who committed the 'keeper before setting up the Colombian to tuck the ball in to the bottom corner. Isco added one for himself ten minutes later, guiding a Lucas cross in to the near corner on the half volley.
Depor had one last hurrah, as Andone crossed for Joselu to glance the ball in to the bottom corner. But Real Madrid put further gloss on the result as substitute Casemiro drove a low shot in to the net with full time approaching
Zinedine Zidane returns to the capital safe in the knowledge that he can count on his second-string of players. In the case of Isco, it is a wonder how he can be classed as a second-string player. On current form, this won't be his last contribution to the title-race.