Real Madrid moved up to third in the league thanks to a routine 2-1 victory over Malaga on Sunday night.
A free-kick from Isco, against his former club, and a tap-in from Casemiro made the difference on the night for Real with Diego Roaln netting a late consolation for Malaga.
Real were dominant throughout at the Rosaleda and but it took until the half-hour mark for Isco to give them the lead.
The former Malaga man dusted himself off after being fouled 20 yards from goal to step up and curl a free-kick up and over the wall into the goalkeeper’s left-hand corner.
Cristiano Ronaldo was given a rest after his recent exploits. Gareth Bale was also left out of the squad and stayed in Madrid.
In truth, Real could have been a couple of goals up by this stage but first Mateo Kovacic’s diving header was repelled by a diving Roberto.
Lucas Vazquez should have done better, too, when he was played through by Isco but his shot went well over the bar from eight when under pressure from a defender but he should have done better.
Malaga: : Roberto 7, Rosales 6, M. Torres 7, I. Miquel 7, F. Ricca 6, Iturra 7, Lacen 6, Chory 6, D. Rolan 7, Adrián 6, Ideye 6
Subs: A. Bueno 6, Lestienne , Rodriguez 6
Real Madrid: Navas 7, Carvajal 7, Vallejo 7, Ramos 7, Theo Hernandez 8, Casemiro 6, Kovacic 8, Isco 8, Asensio 6, Vazquez 7, Benzema 6
Subs: Mayoral 6, Ceballos 6
Man of the match: Mateo Kovacic
Malaga spent most of the opening half camped on the edge of their own area but did have a chance just before the break when Keylor Navas played a shot goal-kick to Casemiro who was dispossessed 25 yards from his own goal by Manuel Iturra who ran through but the goalkeeper stayed big to stop the shot.
The hosts made an effort in the second half by bringing on Alberto Bueno to support Ideye Brown upfront but it wasn’t enough to make a difference.
The lead was eventually doubled when Casemiro broke up play in middle, carried on his run while Karim Benzema laid the ball to an advancing Isco who sent the ball across to the marauding Brazilian who tapped into an empty net from close range.
A hopeful ball was sent into the box in injury-time by Malaga but Jesus Vallejo made a mistake, allowing Rolan to pounce to score a late consolation from close range.
Man of the Match: Mateo Kovacic
The Croatian showed what he could do in midfield given his chance while others were rested. Composed throughout and could have had a goal for him if it wasn’t for an excellent save from Roberto.