Real Madrid returned to winning ways in La Liga as they beat Real Sociedad 3-1 at Anoeta on Sunday to maintain their unbeaten start to the new season.
Real Sociedad 1 Real Madrid 3
- Mayoral gives visitors an early lead
- Rodrigues equalises then hits the bar
- Real lead again through Rodrigues OG
- Bale seals win in second half
The defending champions had dropped points in their last two league outings and were looking to stay within touching distance of early pace-setters Barcelona.
Los Blancos were without key trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo and Karim Benzema, but got off to a positive start when Borja Mayoral opened the scoring on 19 minutes, before they were pegged back by Kevin Rodrigues’ equaliser soon afterwards.
The Portuguese left-back then put past his own keeper with half-time approaching to restore the visitors’ lead, and Gareth Bale sealed the win just after the hour mark.
Eusebio’s side were flying high after winning their opening three games and they created the first real chance on 18 minutes when Adnan Januzaj showed good control to set up Willian Jose, whose first-time shot from 19 yards out flew straight at Keylor Navas.
But they fell behind a minute later as Borja Mayoral reacted quickest to fire home from eight yards out after Sergio Ramos controlled Casemiro’s clipped cross into the area and looked to pull off another overhead-kick.
The hosts responded quickly, though, and were back in the contest on 28 minutes when Alvaro Odriozola got away down the right and sent in a deep cross that was met by Rodrigues on the volley, which squirmed through the grasp of Navas, who will be disappointed with that effort.
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Geronimo Rulli had to be alert to deny Casemiro from six yards out on 34 minutes after the midfielder headed Marco Asensio’s cross into the ground, while moments later Rodrigues almost reproduced his earlier feat by connecting with Odriozola’s cross from the right, but his downward volley spun off the turf to clip the top of the crossbar.
The action quickly swung to the other end with a breakaway from Mayoral, who showed good agility to beat two opponents before surging into the area from the right and cutting the ball back for Rodrigues to inadvertently divert into his own net on the slide.
Luka Modric tested Rulli with a dipping shot from just outside the area on the left that the keeper parried away to safety at the right post on 44 minutes, in what was the final action of the first half.
The Basque outfit looked for another rapid response after the break, with Diego Llorente getting on the end of Sergio Canales’ cross in the 51st minute, but his header went straight to Navas.
Mayoral then had two bites at the cherry moments later when he was played in on the left by Asensio, although his initial shot was straight at Rulli and he could only hit the side-netting on the follow-up.
Sociedad’s eagerness to push up cost them on 61 minutes when Isco launched a long ball upfield for Bale, who powered past his marker to advance into the area from the right before coolly lifting the ball over Rulli into the back of the net.
Rodrigues attempted to make amends for his own-goal with another first-time strike, this time from 25 yards out after a corner was cleared out into his path, but his volley drifted wide of the right post, while Isco fired over from 20 yards out at the other end on 74 minutes.
Navas had a more routine save to make on 81 minutes from Jose’s acrobatic volley following Juanmi’s cross on the left, before Asensio had a goal ruled out moments later for a foul on Bale in the build-up to his clinical finish from inside the box on the left.
Sunday’s other results:
Alaves 0-3 Villarreal
Girona 0-1 Sevilla
Las Palmas 1-0 Athletic Bilbao