Real Madrid started the 2016-17 La Liga season with a win at Real Sociedad through goals from Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio.
Bale netted with less than 90 seconds on the clock after Madrid switched play from left-to-right and Dani Carvajal arced a perfect cross into the penalty area, met by the head of the Wales international.
Asensio doubled the advantage shortly before the interval after he was freed by a ball over the top and with the home defence absent, lobbed Gero Rulli, the Argentine unable to stop Bale adding his second in the final moments as the Wales international rounded the ‘keeper.
Madrid went in without Pepe, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema but did have Alvaro Morata leading the line, while La Real gave a debut to summer signing Juanmi.
The match had barely begun when Bale rose highest to put Madrid in front and though the home side pushed to get back into the game, it did leave them vulnerable on the break to the pace of Bale and Marco Asensio.
Sergio Ramos letting the ball slip under his foot was the biggest scare for Los Blancos but Kiko Casilla was quick off his line to cover, while at the other end Rulli produced a smart save to deny Toni Kroos.
Asier Illarramendi got his square pass all wrong when inside the Madrid six-yard box around the half-hour before Rulli’s bravery in smothering Bale’s toe-poked cross got him a whack from Mikel Gonzalez.
Rulli was helpless against Asensio with a few minutes to the break, the winger perhaps showing why he was in the starting XI and James Rodriguez and Isco were consigned to the bench.
La Real went looking for a quick second half goal to get back in the game but despite pressure in the Madrid area, couldn’t fashion a genuine chance. Madrid were more incisive, Toni Kroos hitting the crossbar after Rulli saved from Morata, though Morata’s evening was marked by a booking for simulation as well.
Rulli was kept alert by a Mateo Kovacic thumper as Madrid held their 2-0 lead with little trouble and it looked more likely it’d increase than be cut.
Eusebio Sacristan rolled the dice with the introduction of Carlos Vela for the final 10 minutes and Mikel Oyarzabal’s run from deep had to be stopped by a frantic Marcelo, before a bout of handbags broke out that saw Sergio Ramos among those booked.
Real Sociedad 0-3 Real Madrid
Bale 1, 90+4, Asensio 40
Real Sociedad: Rulli; Zaldua, Mikel (Vela 79), I. Martinez, Berchiche; Zurutuza, Bergara, Illarramendi; Oyarzabal, Concha (Willian 56), Juanmi (Prieto 72)
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos (Isco 72), Kovacic; Bale, Morata (James 77), Asensio (Lucas Vazquez 65)
Referee: Juan Martinez