Gareth Bale’s first start in four months was a tale of two penalties as Real Madrid needed them to beat Numancia 3-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
Lucas Vazquez was hacked down in Numancia’s box with 10 minutes until half-time, allowing Bale to send Munir Mohand the wrong way for a goal on his return.
The Segunda side lost Pape Diamanka to a red card on the hour mark, and they were dealt a further blow when Vazquez won a second penalty for Los Blancos, although the winger appeared to throw himself into his opponent.
Isco nonetheless converted the spot-kick, and there was still time for Borja Mayoral to round off the last-16 victory in stoppage time.
“I think we got a good result because they’re a Segunda side who are playing well,” Coach Zinedine Zidane said after the match.
“Bale? It was our idea to play him. He was important at the start of the game. He played for an hour and without any problems. We’re happy and we’ll keep going like this.
“I see him playing more often and the idea is to give him a run of games. It was important that he started the game.
“Balance sheet of the game? I’m happy for the result because it’s not easy to win here 3-0 and because of how we played.
“It’s true that we had some difficulties in the second half, when they were left with one less player.
“Mayoral? He’s one more player here, he’s an important player in the squad and he’ll play whenever we need him.
“There are many players in this squad who haven’t been given many minutes, but they’re staying patient and working hard. That’s important for us.
“Madrid in 2018? We want to have six good months. The first six were good, we had a few difficulties in the League, but we’re alive in three competitions and we’re going to fight for all of them until the end of the season and go step by step.
“Kepa medical? I can’t confirm it. I don’t know anything about it. Suffering in second half? For a few minutes. They played better with 10 men, but that’s football.
“Ultimately, it’s the result that counts and this is a good result for us. Numancia? They’re a team that fight.
“They run up and down with a group of fans that spur them on. I expected that, but I’ll stick with the result and my players, who had a good game.”
The return leg will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu next Thursday.
Numancia 0-3 Real Madrid
Diamanka sent off 60 (N) Bale pen 35, Isco pen 89, Mayoral 90 (RM)
Numancia: Munir; Medina, Calvo, Gutierrez, Ripa (Valcarce 20, Mateu 46); Sierra (Inigo Perez 63), Larrea; Nieto, Diamanka, Milla; Marin
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal, Vallejo, Nacho, Theo; Marcos Llorente, Ceballos; Vazquez, Asensio, Bale; Mayoral
Referee: Estrada Fernandez