MADRID: Gareth Bale responded to his Real Madrid critics with a brilliant goal as Zinedine Zidane’s youthful side ended Real Sociedad’s 100 per cent start with a 3-1 victory.
Welshman Bale was booed at times during Wednesday’s home Champions League win over Apoel Nicosia after an indifferent spell, but Zidane had backed the 28-year-old to hit top form again following last year’s injury.
He was largely anonymous against Sociedad but in the 61st minute, with his side winning 2-1, Bale’s blistering speed allowed him to collect a long Isco ball over the top and he coolly chipped in his second goal of the season.
Earlier in the game Borja Mayoral, 20, had opened his Real Madrid account and then provided the cross for Kevin Rodrigues to turn into his own net after the full-back had levelled at the other end.
The visitors, still without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, took a 19th-minute lead when Borja volleyed in from close range after Sergio Ramos had unintentionally teed up the forward.
But Alvaro Odriozola’s cross to the back post saw an unmarked Rodrigues send his left-foot volley squirming under Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas nine minutes later.
Real were caught cold again moments later from an identical build-up that saw Rodrigues this time hit the bar with his effort but the defender was left cursing his luck in the 36th minute after diverting Borja’s cross past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Sociedad had won all their competitive fixtures this term but there was no way back when Bale knocked in a third, latching onto Isco’s ball, shaking off the challenge of Rodrigues in the process, before lifting over Geronimo.
Leaders Barcelona won 2-1 at Getafe on Saturday to make it four wins out of four so far. Sevilla are two points behind with Sociedad third and Real Madrid fourth.