Real Madrid continued their impressive pre-season campaign with a 3-1 victory over LA Galaxy in the International Champions Cup.
Substitute Karim Benzema bagged a double and Angel Di Maria netted a first-half goal for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, while Jose Villarreal was on target for the Galaxy at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
But it was the performance of new recruit Isco that stole the headlines on Thursday, with the midfielder was instrumental in Madrid’s opening two goals and almost scored a goal of his own.
The opening five minutes reflected that of a pre-season friendly but within the blink of an eye, Madrid lifted the intensity and almost broke the deadlock in Arizona.
Cristiano Ronaldo rose highest only for his header to cannon off the crossbar, helping to spark the match into action, with the Galaxy almost benefiting from an own goal before fleet-footed midfielder Villarreal saw his attempt pushed away for a corner after cutting past two Madrid defenders.
As the California outfit pressed forward, gaps began to appear and Madrid took full advantage for the game’s opening goal on 15 minutes.
Isco combined with Ronaldo before the Portuguese played in Di Maria, who guided the ball beyond goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Madrid continued to enjoy the majority of possession, although the Galaxy did come close to drawing level through Juninho, whose ambitious 25th-minute free-kick hit the side netting.
Di Maria almost returned the favour to Ronaldo with eight minutes remaining in the first half but the 28-year-old Portuguese forward skied his effort over the bar.
Madrid introduced Benzema at the interval and the Frenchman found himself on the scoresheet five minutes into the second half, courtesy of some more Isco magic.
The former Malaga man delivered a wonderful outside of the foot pass that picked out Benzema, who made no mistake from close range.
Isco almost came close to scoring a goal of his own on the hour mark but he was denied by a brilliant save.
Despite Madrid’s dominance, they were made to work for their victory after Villarreal scored a stunning goal with just over half an hour remaining.
Benzema eventually put the result beyond doubt with his second of the match inside the final 15 minutes.
Everton are next up for Madrid at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, while Bruce Arena’s Galaxy will face Italian champions Juventus the same day.