Real Madrid 5-1 Sporting Gijon: Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale all score for hosts
By Grant Miles
Last Updated: 17/01/16 9:44pm
Real Madrid's second straight five-goal display under new boss Zinedine Zidane to dispatch Sporting Gijon 5-1 was marred by injuries to Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
The hosts produced a dominant display in Sunday's La Liga clash at the Bernabeu, scoring four goals in the opening 18 minutes with Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Benzema all getting on the scoresheet before two of their star men were forced off.
Bale suffered a calf injury in the 44th minute, after overstretching for a Marcelo cross, but did manage to walk off accompanied by medical staff. Benzema's knock was slightly less serious, as he felt the effects of James Rodriguez kicking him in the back of his right leg with just under 30 minutes remaining.
Bale opened the floodgates in the seventh minute, heading home at the near post from Toni Kroos' corner completely unmarked.
Ronaldo scored Real's second goal after a well-weighted pass from Benzema gave him the opportunity to lash the ball into the top right-hand corner with his left foot.
Benzema soon went from provider to scorer when he spectacularly finished a free-flowing move in the 12th minute.
Kroos' well-weighted pass to Bale on the right wing saw the Welshman burst past his man before teeing up Benzema to put away an acrobatic overhead kick.
Ronaldo made the most of a shell-shocked Sporting defence to make it four with his second of the match, side-footing home a low driven cross from Dani Carvajal.
Benzema also notched up his second goal in the 41st minute and made it five in the opening 45 minutes.
The France striker's second was made by Isco, his clipped pass perfectly timed, leaving the Real striker to juggle the ball with his first two touches before poking it past Ivan Cuellar.
In the second half, Real took their foot of the gas, after assuming a commanding position in the first half. Isma Lopez managed to respond for the visitors with a well-converted left-footed shot in the 51st minute to make it 5-1, but when Benzema went off, the intensity was really taken out of this clash.
The injuries will of course concern Zidane, but it could have been worse had Ronaldo been sent off for kicking out at Nacho Cases in the 53rd minute.
The win temporarily moved Zidane's side up to second place behind Atletico Madrid, before Barcelona were in action in the evening game.
Real will be confident of putting a string of results together, with Real Betis, Granada and Espanyol their next three opponents.
Sporting remain in the relegation zone in 19th place and will be hoping a run of four home games in their next five matches can inspire an upturn in their La Liga form.