Real Madrid made it 11 goals in two games on Tuesday as they strolled to a 5-1 victory over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League.
Isco was dropped for Marco Asensio, despite the midfielder’s stellar display in Madrid’s 6-1 thrashing of Real Betis at the weekend, while there were recalls for Danilo and James Rodriguez.
Nonetheless, Keylor Navas was the first goalkeeper to be truly tested as Tomasz Jodlowiec pushed up from centre-back to test him one-on-one, but his low drive was blocked by the Costa Rican’s leg.
Karim Benzema was then denied by Arkadiusz Malarz from a tight angle in Legia’s penalty area, before Bale cut inside from the right and fired the ball into the bottom-left corner of the custodian’s net.
Soon enough, Los Blancos went 2-0 up via a Jodlowiec own goal, the defender deflecting Marcelo’s first-time shot past Malarz.
However, Legia found a way back into the game from the penalty spot as Danilo fouled his man in the box. Miroslav Radovic proceeded to send Navas the wrong way.
Cristiano Ronaldo looked to restore the hosts’ two-goal lead as he shaped up for a free kick, but his curling effort was punched clear by Malarz, although the latter could do little about Asensio’s subsequent strike, the Portuguese laying Danilo’s low cross onto him.
Madrid had to wait some 23 second-half minutes for a fourth goal, which came from Lucas Vazquez. The winger took full advantage of his cameo appearance, volleying home a cross at the back post from fellow substitute Alvaro Morata.
Los Merengues’ dominance showed no signs of abating into the late stages as they passed the ball around for fun in the Legia half, and a fifth and final finish ultimately followed.
Ronaldo could only stab Benzema’s first-time cross inches wide, however, before more terrific link-up between the pair, which was worked into the Legia box, was sent wide by the No 7.
Still, Kovacic got to the edge of the box before swivelling on the ball and picking out Morata’s overlap, the striker then angling his finish past Malarz.
Ronaldo continued to step up in his efforts to get himself on the scoresheet but was kept out by Malarz’s fingertip at the death as Benzema somehow headed over from a yard out.
Real Madrid 5-1 Legia Warsaw
Bale 16, Jodlowiec og 19, Asensio 37, Vazquez 68, Morata 84 (RM) Radovic pen 22 (LW)
Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; James (Vazquez 68), Kroos, Asensio (Kovacic 79); Bale (Morata 64), Benzema, Ronaldo
Legia Warsaw: Malarz; Bereszvnski, Czerwinski, Rzezniczak, Hlousek; Jodlowiec, Moulin (Kopczynski 81); Guilherme (Qazaishvili 74), Odjidja-Ofoe, Kucharczyk; Radovic (Nikolics 74)
Referee: Buquet (FRA)