Ronaldo resting, Isco's 2 goals keeps Madrid on title track

Real Madrid's Isco, center, celebrates with James Rodriguez after scoring the third goal against Sporting de Gijon during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Sporting de Gijon, at El Molinon stadium in Gijon, northern Spain, Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Real Madrid will have to continue its march toward its first Spanish league title in five years without the injured Gareth Bale.

"Isco is a great player and he has shown that Madrid is where he belongs".

Vesga looped a header over Kiko Casilla to put the hosts back in front after halftime, but Alvaro Morata equalised with a headed goal of his own, before Isco's late victor.

Isco's outstanding performance saved Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane from paying a heavy price for resting nearly all his first-choice players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, for important matches against Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Messi would later bury a the rebound of Luis Suarez's shot in the 37th, taking his league-leading tally to 29 goals.

It was 2-0 just after the start of the second half as Carrasco found the net again as he headed in a cross from Nicolas Gaitan at the far post.

'We did very well from the first minute to the last, Sporting had two chances and scored two goals, while we made many chances so the result is deserved'.

'It is the difficulty of this job, having to leave very good footballers on the bench, but I have to make decisions'.

Rubi saw his team's lead last a comparatively lengthy nine minutes this time around, with Danilo opting against a long-range attempt to flight an inviting ball for Morata leap above Babin and head home.

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Madrid leads second-placed Barcelona by three points and has a game in hand on its rival.

Just when it looked like the La Liga leaders had run out of time to conjure a victor, Isco drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Sporting went back ahead through a header by Mikel Vesga, who had already set up Cop's opener.

Isco has reiterated his desire to stay at Real Madrid "for many years", after being hailed by manager Zinedine Zidane.

He then came out on Twitter and said "I'm not joining Barca" after he received countless messages from fans of both Madrid and the Catalan club on the social networking site urging them to commit to their respective clubs.

Real Madrid, who moved up to 75 points from 31 games, made nine changes to the team from their Champions League victory at Bayern Munich in midweek, with the second leg to come on Tuesday.

First, Osasuna goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu brought down Correa, only to save Carrasco's spot-kick with two minutes left.

Depor had only picked up one point in four matches since stunning Barcelona 2-1 a month ago, but second-half goals from Joselu and Pedro Mosquera helped them see off Malaga.

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