Madrid: Gareth Bale needed just 80 seconds to score his first goal of the football season as Real Madrid began their 2016-17 Liga campaign with a comfortable and impressive 3-0 win away over Real Sociedad.
The Welsh international on Sunday showed he is becoming the leader of a Real Madrid side without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema as he leapt above the home defence to head Dani Carvajal’s cross into the corner of the Real Sociedad net, Xinhua news agency reported. Zinedine Zidane’s side started the game as if they had something to prove after Barcelona’s 6-2 thrashing of Real Betis 24 hour earlier and had it not been for some desperate defending from Inigo Martinez and some inspired goalkeeping from Geronimo Rulli, the game would have been over by halftime.
Rulli twice denied the active Alvaro Morata, but could do nothing to deny Marcos Asensio as the youngster marked his debut with a cool finish when through on goal that any veteran would have been proud of. With Casimiro sweeping everything up in defence and Tony Kroos given freedom to move forward, the first half was one way traffic towards the Real Sociedad goal as Madrid gave an exhibition of movement, passing and pressure that the home side had little response to.
The second half saw the home side come out looking to pressure Real Madrid higher up the field and it was an improved display from Real Sociedad, although they failed to work Kiko Casilla in the Madrid goal. Madrid on the other hand saw the impressive Kroos hit the crossbar after good work by Morata, who offered an outlet for his teammates while offering power and pace in attack.
Mateo Kovacic saw a 25-yard shot well parried by Rulli as the game became increasingly open as tired early season legs began to take hold, but Madrid’s threat on the break saw Bale go through on goal to score with the last kick of the game to make it 3-0. –IANS