Deportivo 0-3 Real Madrid: Gareth Bale scores as Zinedine Zidane's side cruise to victory
Last Updated: 21/08/17 7:11am
Gareth Bale scored one goal and set up another as Real Madrid started their La Liga title defence with a confident 3-0 victory at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday night.
Madrid were without suspended talisman Cristiano Ronaldo for the trip to the Riazor, but it made little difference to the European champions as they reclaimed their familiar place atop the standings at the end of the opening weekend.
Bale notched the opener in the 20th minute and another close-range tap-in, this time from Casemiro seven minutes later, saw Real in control before the half-hour was up.
Bale then assisted Toni Kroos for Real's third goal just after the hour to complete the scoring, although there was still time for some late drama with Depor striker Florin Andone missing a penalty before Real saw captain Sergio Ramos sent off.
Home Team: Ruben (6), Juanfran (6), Schar (6), Sidnei (6), Luisinho (7), Mosquera (6), Guilherme (7), Borges (6), Cartabia (6), Bakkali (7), Andone (5).
Subs: Lopez (6), Valle (6), Gama (6).
Away Team: Navas (8), Carvajal (6), Ramos (5), Nacho (6), Marcelo (7), Kroos (8), Casemiro (7), Modric (7), Isco (7), Benzema (6), Bale (7).
Subs: Vasquez (6), Llorente (6), Asensio (6).
Man of the match: Toni Kroos
While Real ultimately ran out comfortable winners, it might have been a very different story had Andone made the most of his numerous chances - including two gilt-edged opportunities early on.
Twice in the opening seven minutes Andone got in behind the Real defence, but both times he was denied by fine saves from Keylor Navas.
Real started the defence of their La Liga title without Ronaldo, who picked up a five-game ban for shoving the referee in the first leg of the Super Cup. In his absence, Bale joined Isco and Benzema in attack, while Nacho partnered Ramos at the heart of Real's defence.
Zinedine Zidane's men looked menacing going forward from the outset and they made the breakthrough they had been threatening 20 minutes in. Ruben spilled a Luka Modric shot and Karim Benzema's touch took it away from the Depor goalkeeper and a defender, and allowed Bale the simplest of finishes into an empty net.
Brazil internationals Marcelo and Casemiro then combined to double Real's lead soon after, the midfielder side-footing home the full-back's low ball to the far post to finish off a well-worked team goal.
After the break, Depor looked dangerous going forward as well and they came close to pulling a goal back in the 59th minute when Andone saw his glancing header cleared off the line by Ramos, who might have been lucky to still be on the pitch after only picking up a yellow card following an incident with Fabian Schar not long previously.
Ramos would end up having an early bath following his stoppage-time red, but Real had killed the game off long before then after notching a third goal through Kroos in the 62nd minute. Bale laid the ball back to the Germany midfielder on the edge of the box and his first-time shot flew past Ruben with the aid of a slight deflection.
Real were deservedly on course for victory, but Depor merited at least a consolation goal and they nearly got it when Guilherme Torres struck the crossbar. To cap a hugely frustrating night for Andone, he was then denied twice more by Navas in the closing stages, the second time from a mis-hit penalty in the 89th minute.
Real's night also ended on a sour note when Ramos was sent off after picking up a second yellow card following an aerial challenge with Borja Valle, but the points were already in the bag.
Man of the Match - Toni Kroos
The German midfielder controlled the midfield for Real.
He showed off his extensive range of passing and put in a number of lung-bursting forward runs, causing the Deportivo defence all sorts of problems.
He capped his excellent display with a goal, arriving late to fire Bale's pass past Ruben and into the back of the net for his third goal in four La Liga matches.
Real Madrid continue the defence of their La Liga crown at the Bernabeu against Valencia next Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football from 9.10pm.
Deportivo travel to Levante for their next match and the game is also on Sky Sports but behind the red button on the Sky Sports Football channel next Saturday (7.15pm).