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One substitution meant the difference between one point and three.
You have to give credit where credit is due. The credit here belongs to Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian was questioned after some puzzling substitutions in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Osasuna. Chasing a goal, Ancelotti opted to substitute Jese in place of Isco. Eighty-four minutes into the match, the 21-year-old performed at a man-of-the-match level.
Karim Benzema wandered aimlessly around the pitch and served as a more logical choice for replacement.
Questions were raised as the substitution proved to be ineffective.
Ancelotti was faced with a similar scenario Sunday evening.
This time, the €7.5 million manager got it right.
The rationale favored Ancelotti's decision to substitute Isco off in the 73rd minute. At the time, the midfielder was playing beneath his recent form and did very little with the ball at his feet (zero dribbles). Even worse, a majority of his action (28.38 percent) took place by the center circle.
Real Madrid needed a spark. Jese provided it just nine minutes into his shift.
In reality, the 20-year-old forward nearly assisted Real Madrid's match-winner instead of striking it. An overlaping run from Daniel Carvajal was met by a delectable pass from Jese. But rather than strike the ball past the near post, Carvajal opted to pull it back into the center of the six-yard box.
Seconds later, the favor was returned to Jese. This time, it was Modric who provided the succulent pass. Jese was now faced with a similar situation as his teammate. An acute angle required an accurate shot past the near post.
He left zero doubts with his execution.
As Spanish outlet Marca points out, the match winner was all just part of the dream:
If we hadn't scored, we'd have had our work cut out in the league. It was a really important goal and victory. I'm living the dream. I'm really happy and grateful to the gaffer for giving me a chance. Everyone has to grow into their place in the team, like I am gradually. I'm performing well and I think the gaffer is starting to take note. I want to stay at Real and earn more game time. I hope to contribute more.
Remember, Jese: More "game time" won't be hard to come by if production follows when called upon.