Real Madrid got their La Liga campaign up and running in fine style as they saw off Real Sociedad 3-0 at the Estadio Municipal de Anoeta on Sunday night.
- Real Madrid 3 Real Sociedad 0
- Bale grabs a brace
- Asensio adds the third
- Los Blancos start strong
Gareth Bale needed just two minutes to open his 2016/17 account with a well-taken header before Marco Asensio’s cheeky dinked effort past Geronimo Rulli in the Sociedad goal five minutes before half time.
The Welshman finished the match as he started, with a well taken goal, with what proved to be the last kick of the game.
With a determination to wrestle the La Liga title from Barcelona’s grip, Madrid started in fine style with Bale expertly heading home Dani Carvajal’s right-wing cross.
Raphael Varane then superbly headed clear Asier Illarramendi’s inswinging corner as the hosts looked to get back into the game.
Kiko Casilla then was quick off his line to dispossess Mikel Oyarzabal after Sergio Ramos miscontrolled a pass on the halfway line on 15 minutes.
Alvaro Morata saw his 16th-minute goal-bound shot deflected off target by Inigo Martinez as Rulli tipped a Toni Kroos effort round the post.
Sociedad’s best chance of the first half fell to Illarramendi, from a David Concha ball, but with only Casilla to beat from 10 yards, the player somehow opted to pass the ball square with no support in sight.
Ramos was unable to keep his 32nd minute header on target from a flighted pass from Kroos with Rulli in no-mans land before the home stopper did well to beat away a Morata shot following a good run.
Asensio though made no mistake as he latched onto a delightful Varane crossfield pass before a perfect first touch and an even better finish.
Casemiro should have done better with his close-range header from a Marcelo cross though late in the half that ended with Real in complete control.
An early second half penalty appeal from Sociedad was waved away as Carvajal appeared to upend Markel Bergara in the box before a good spell of possession from Eusebio Sacristan’s side.
Morata wanted a penalty himself on 54 minutes but was booked for diving before forcing a good save from Rulli, after another good run, before Kroos crashed the rebound against the crossbar.
Joseba Zaldua was forced to bring down Bale in full stride as he raced toward goal, and while Ramos’ kick only hit the wall, Mateo Kovacic’s excellent follow-up was excellently tipped around the left-hand post by the outstretched Rulli.
The game threatened to descend into chaos with a number of off-the-ball skirmishes, as Oyarzabal appeared to headbutt Morata while Ramos acted as peacemaker when a number of players came together late in the game.
Oyarzabal thought he had reduced the deficit with an 84th-minute effort after powering into the box only for Marcelo to block his close-range shot.
Sociedad were again up in arms after Casemiro appeared to handle in the box after a tangle with William Jose but the decision went the way of Los Blancos once again.
Late substitute James forced a good save from Rulli with the game winding down, but it was Bale who had the last say as he netted four minutes into injury time at the end of the match. He drove past a tired Sociedad defence to slot home and hand Zinedine Zidane an impressive opening day victory.