Bale keeps Real in Primera Division title hunt

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Gareth Bale’s 80th minute header was enough to hand Real Madrid a 1-0 victory against Real Sociedad at Estadio Anoeta on Saturday and lift them top of the Primera Division.

  • Real Sociedad 0 Real Madrid 1
  • James forces a save from Rulli
  • Bale’s header just wide of the post
  • Clearance off the line by Bergara
  • Bale fires straight at Rulli
  • Bale heads home from Jese’s cross

Match summary

For 80 minutes Zinedine Zidane’s side had Atletico and Barcelona fans on the edge of their seats, hoping that their luck would hold out. The visitors had several chances in both halves but struggled to find the back of the net due to some poor finishing and good goalkeeping.

Real Sociedad were on the back foot throughout the match and simply could not find their way through the Madrid backline, which was expertly marshalled by the excellent Sergio Ramos.

The match never looked like it was going to turn into a festival of goals – and when Bale eventually headed home from a terrific Jese cross, one could feel the match was over as a competition.

Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid ⚽️ 80' @garethbale11 #RMLiga #HalaMadrid

A photo posted by Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) on

Full report

Madrid started strongly and didn’t take their foot off the accelerator for the entire match.

The first of several Madrid chances came after some patient build up play. James and Nacho combined to feed Bale who was well challenged by Mikel Gonzalez. The ball fell to Nacho, who found James Rodriguez, whose low shot was kept out by Geronimo Rulli.

Sergio Ramos, who had a terrific match at the back for the visitors, rose above his marker to head a Luka Modric corner wide of the post.

James’ class in the midfield proved too much to handle for the hosts, with the Columbian regularly causing trouble for the Sociedad defence. From one of several corners he won, Bale again missed the target with a header.

Los Blancos’ pressure was unrelenting, chance after chance falling to their classy forwards who simply could not find the back of the net. James was again off target on 17 minutes, firing wide after a Vazquez’s flick.

Frustrated Madrid fans could have been forgiven for thinking that it simply wasn’t going to be Bale’s day after the Welshman again missed with a header from James’ cross.

James, who was still dominating the midfield, had a chance denied by Rulli on 28 minutes, although the Columbian’s straight shot did make it relatively it easy for the keeper.

The second half finally saw the home side apply some pressure in the final third, with Keylor Navas having to parry a great corner from Sociedad winger Bruma.

On 59 minutes, Gareth Bale had the best chance of the match to put his side a goal up. But again the player hardly tested Rulli, firing his shot straight at the keeper after finding himself completely unmarked in the box. With the match going the way it was, it seemed likely to be the last good opportunity Madrid would have to score.

Jese forced two saves from Rulli in a short space of time and finally, on 81 minutes, Bale made amends for his terrible miss earlier by scoring what must be one of the most satisfying goals of his career, climbing high above his marker to nod home from a Vasquez cross.

Despite some late pressure from the home side, Madrid managed to keep the score at 0-1 and take the league’s top spot from arch rivals Barcelona.

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