Borja Mayoral grabbed a goal and assist as Real Madrid ended Real Sociedad's 100 percent start in La Liga with a 3-1 win on Sunday.
Gareth Bale also got on the scoresheet with a finish that brought back memories of the 2014 Copa del Rey Final, despite Keylor Navas' howler to let La Real back in.
A depleted Madrid named Mayoral as a lone striker and two Castilla players on the bench, with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jesus Vallejo, Mateo Kovacic, Toni Kroos and Marcelo all unavailable.
Barca’s 2-1 victory over Getafe a day earlier made the clash at Anoeta a must-win, otherwise Los Blancos faced falling at least five points behind their arch-rivals.
La Real, meanwhile, had started the season with three straight wins but similarly couldn’t call upon quartet Inigo Martinez, Mikel Oyarzabal, Carlos Martinez and Raul Navas.
Madrid looked very sharp early on, and less than 20 minutes in, Sergio Ramos held the ball up for Mayoral near the six-yard box. The striker made no mistake, blasting home on the half-volley.
That goal meant Los Merengues had scored in 73 consecutive matches, equalling the world-record run of Santos during the 1962-63 campaign.
Yet they were pegged back almost immediately by Kevin Rodrigues, whose half-volley at the near post inexplicably squirmed through Keylor’s gloves and into the back of the net.
There was a break in play when a cameraman needed urgent medical attention while La Real fans were celebrating their equaliser in the temporary stand behind the Costa Rican’s goal.
At the other end, Gero Rulli made a huge stop at his near post to push away Casemiro’s header, but moments after Madrid cleared a bouncing volley off Keylor’s bar, they broke back at the speed of light via Mayoral.
The starlet proceeded to shimmy past his marker, before Kevin slid his cutback into the wrong net.
Mayoral should’ve netted his second of the evening after he was slipped in behind at Rulli’s near post, but his initial shot was straight at the goalkeeper, neither could he blast his rebound on target.
Nonetheless, Bale showed magnificent acceleration to drive past his marker, before clipping a perfectly-weighted lob over Rulli for his sixth goal in five trips to Anoeta, making the Welshman its most prolific visiting player in La Liga.
Rulli then sprung off his line to smother Lucas Vazquez’s close-range shot but could do nothing about Marco Asensio’s effort, which flew across the Argentine and into the back of the net, although it didn’t count due to Bale fouling in the build-up.
David Zurutuza was about to pull the trigger for 3-2 towards the end of the game, but out of nowhere came Dani Carvajal with a goal-saving challenge.
Real Sociedad 1-3 Real Madrid
Kevin 28 (RS) Mayoral 19, Kevin og 36, Bale 61 (RM)
Real Sociedad: Rulli; Odriozola, Aritz, Diego Llorente, Kevin; Prieto (Juanmi 69), Illarra, Zurutuza, Januzaj (Agirretxe 77); Canales (Vela 57); Willian Jose
Real Madrid: Keylor; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Theo (Nacho 90); Modric, Casemiro; Bale, Isco, Asensio (Ceballos 86), Mayoral (Vazquez 75)
Referee: Iglesias Villanueva