How Zidane’s ploy for Isco helped in the victory over Atalanta?

Isco-Real Madrid

The Spaniard starred in the centre-forward role in place of Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid ended victorious in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Atalanta and although it can be argued that the La Liga giants weren’t at their best, they were still happy to get away with an away goal.

Zinedine Zidane was caught in a selection dilemma ahead of the game due to the long list of injuries, especially the French manager had to fill the void of Karim Benzema, who has been arguably Madrid’s best player this season.

Zidane deployed out of favour star Isco as a centre-forward against Atalanta. Although he had an out-and-out striker replacement in Mariano Diaz, the French boss went with Isco instead.

As soon as Isco was seen in the striker role, everybody predicted that the Spaniard would play as a sort of false 9, a role which doesn’t vary much from his usual attacking midfielder role.

Isco’s position in between the lines caused many problems to Atalanta’s defence, which preferred man-marking over Zonal defence.

Although he is not renowned for his shooting skills, the Spaniard dragged defenders with him whenever he tended to receive the ball between the lines.

Ferland Mendy scored the winning goal in the dying minutes of the game and thus helping Los Blancos go 1-0 up in the aggregate.

Atalanta went a man down very early on in the game, which Madrid played to their advantage.