Real Sociedad 1-3 Real Madrid: Bale Back to His Best as Los Blancos Cruise to Victory

Real Sociedad’s 100% La Liga record came to an end on Sunday evening as visitors Real Madrid proved too much for the Blues and Whites, securing a 3-1 win at the Anoeta Stadium – the third time in a row the Spanish capital side had put three past their opponents in the league

A well-taken first senior goal from shock starter Borja Mayoral, who came into replace the missing Karim Benzema, opened the proceedings after a slow start from both sides, only for the visitors to be pegged back shortly after following Keylor Navas’ goalkeeping error, which allowed Kevin Rodrigues’ volley to sneak under the Costa Rican.

However, Los Blancos’ lead was quickly restored as the momentary Sociedad hero turned Mayoral’s cross into his own net after covering 100 yards in retreat following the left-back witnessing his effort ricochet off the crossbar seconds earlier.

The evening was then rounded off by Gareth Bale, who showed the levels of class which have been absent so far this term by expertly converting a lighting quick counter attack with a world-class chipped finish to secure all three points for Madrid in San Sebastian.  

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga

The opening quarter was certainly one for the footballing purist, with both sides possibly showing one another too much respect and neither willing to step away from their rigid game plans. 

It looked as though it would take either a bit of magic or a bit of luck in order for the deadlock to be broken, and just after the quarter-hour mark the visitors got both. 

Unlikely-starter, Mayoral, found himself in very much the right place at the right time after an incredible piece of individual skill from Sergio Ramos, who was able to both control the cross he received inside the area and advance with his back to goal without letting the ball hit the floor. 

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The Spaniard was then seemingly wrestled to the ground, in a challenge that certainly would have been penalised, only for the ball to fall nicely into the path of the on-running 20-year-old who dispatched his effort first time from six-yards out past the spread Geronimo Rulli to give Madrid the lead. 

However, the La Liga title holders’ advantage lasted just 10 minutes, after goalkeeper Navas’ blunder allowed Rodrigues’ volley to sneak into the far corner for the equaliser.

The Sociedad left-back had advanced unmarked as play spread down the right-hand side before ghosting into the visitors’ 18-yard box and meeting a deep cross into the Los Blancos area with a venomous volley

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga

But Madrid’s lead was restored just after the half-hour mark, after Zinedine Zidane’s side fortunately took advantage of a blistering counter attack, which started with Rodrigues once again getting on the end of another deep ball. 

The defender almost produced a carbon copy of his first goal, however this time his effort ricocheted away from the crossbar allowing Los Blancos the opportunity to break. 

The ball eventually found the feet of the advanced Mayoral, with Ascensio in support, but the youngster decided not to use him and instead rounded his man before taking his shot. 

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The effort, which was heading well wide, deflected off the outstretched leg of the retreating Rodrigues, who had covered the entire length of the pitch in order to provide support, and into the back of the net past the wrong-footed custodian, Rulli. 

As the tie headed towards the break Madrid continued to create chances on the counter attack, and could have extended their lead even further through Ascensio and Casemiro if it were not for the heroics of the host’s shot-stopper. 

However, the Whites and Blues managed to hold out, and that resilience lasted until the hour mark when Bale answered his critics with a typical Bale-esque goal. 

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga

The hgihtly-decorated Wales international managed to latch onto a long ball over the top down the right-hand side before showing the unrivalled strength and pace which had been missing from the 28-year-old’s performances so far this season. 

The former world’s most expensive player drove into the Sociedad area, keeping the hosts’ defensive efforts at bay in the process, before cutely lifting his effort over the top of the advancing Rulli and giving his side a more comfortable two-goal lead. 

As the clash ticked on Madrid enforced their dominance, with substitute Lucas Vasquez and Bale both coming close to further extending Los Blancos’ lead. 

However, it wasn’t to be and Zidane’s side left he Anoeta Stadium after another improved display, a result which closes the gap to league leaders Barcelona to four points after the opening four fixtures. 

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09 2017
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