Real Sociedad 1-3 Real Madrid: Gareth Bale scores as Real Madrid end Sociedad's perfect start
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 18/09/17 7:06am
Gareth Bale scored a superb individual goal as Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad 3-1 at the Anoeta on Sunday to go fourth in La Liga.
Real Madrid took the lead after 28 minutes when Borja Mayoral crashed home his first goal for the club from a Sergio Ramos tee-up, only for Kevin Rodrigues to level when his powerful drive slipped through Keylor Navas' fingers.
Rodrigues then slid in to plant the ball past his own goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli from Mayoral's low cross, just seconds after having headed against Navas' crossbar at the other end.
Bale raced away from Sociedad to score a sublime third after the break for Real Madrid as Zinedine Zidane's side recovered their form to rise to fourth.
Real Sociedad: Rulli (7), Llorente (7), Illara (6), Januzaj (7), Prieto (6), Willian (5), Aritz (6), Canales (7), Zurutuza (7), Odriozola (7), Kevin(8)
Subs: Vela (7), Juanmi (7), Agirretxe (6)
Real Madrid: Navas (5), Carvajal (7), Ramos (7), Varane (7), Modric (7), Bale (8), Casemiro (7), Theo (8), Asesnio (8), Mayoral (8), Isco (7)
Subs: Ceballos (6), Nacho (6), Lucas (7)
Man of the match: Asensio
Real were seeking to make it 73 consecutive games in all competitions in which they had scored and that record was upheld after 19 minutes when 19-year-old full-back Theo Hernandez crossed for Sergio Ramos to tee-up an attempted overhead kick, only for Mayoral to romp through the middle and score.
Mayoral was a surprise inclusion for Zidane as Real looked to cope without a host of first-team regulars, including the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and the injured Karim Benzema, and the youngster didn't disappoint in making the most of a rare start with a finely taken goal.
The lead was short-lived though as within minutes Sociedad right-back Alvaro Odriozola sent a reaching cross deep to the far post where Rodrigues was waiting unmarked to send a sweetly struck volley past Navas, who allowed the ball to slip through his hands.
Sociedad were inches from taking the lead when Rodrigues rose to plant a header back across goal and against the face of Navas' crossbar but 23 seconds later the hosts were behind, Mayoral breaking into the box and crossing low for the desperate Rodrigues, who had sprinted the length of the pitch to help his team's defensive effort, to slide the ball past his own goalkeeper.
No Ronaldo for Real as Mayoral got a rare start up front. Januzaj started wide for Sociedad.
Mayoral nearly grabbed his second when he raced onto Marco Asensio's through ball and shot straight at Rulli but it was Bale who made the game safe, sprinting clear of the Sociedad defence and clipping a sublime lob over the advancing 'keeper.
It was the first time Bale had completed 90 minutes this season and Real will now look to move into La Liga's top three when they face Real Betis at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Man of the match - Marco Asensio
Asensio was at the heart of everything Real did going forward, seemingly gliding through Sociedad at will at times. In the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo his body language is that of a player who is ready to take responsibility as the team's principal attacking fulcrum.
Real Madrid take on Real Betis at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night while Sociedad travel to Levante on Thursday.