#2 The backups are still backups
For all of the feel-good factor of a last-gasp 3-2 win, there is still the irrevocable fact that Real Madrid trailed twice to 18th placed Sporting Gijon. If not for Isco’s heroics, the press would have a field day criticising Zidane’s decision to omit Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema from the matchday squad completely.
Apart from Alvaro Morata, Danilo and Isco, the backups proved to be very much worthy of their status. Mateo Kovacic started the game brightly enough, but was a bit slow getting back into defensive positions unlike Casemiro. Fabio Coentrao was Madrid’s best passer in the first half, but the attacking impetus offered by Marcelo when he came on was obvious.
The likes of Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio and James Rodriguez will continue to be second choice after performances like these – they’ll not be displacing the likes of Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale and Luka Modric any time soon. Real Madrid have a quality second string – but they need to be doing better than last-gasp wins over relegation candidates.Published 16 Apr 2017, 00:14 IST