Two-goal Bale leads Real Madrid to victory at Real Sociedad

Madrid, Aug. 22,
(GNA/dpa) – Real Madrid began their Spanish league campaign with an
authoritative 3-0 win at Real Sociedad, with a brace from Gareth Bale and a
handsome goal from youngster Marco Asensio.

“All the
players made a big effort today,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said.

“We attacked
and defended together, like a team should. This was a great collective
display.”

The European
champions enjoyed a surprisingly comfortable game despite being without
Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric. In the absence of Ronaldo, Bale took on the
role of Real’s attack leader to excellent effect.

When asked about
Bale, Zidane said: “He himself has said that this is a very important year
for him.

“He was
wonderful tonight, very strong and positive.”

The Welshman gave
Real the lead in Anoeta after just two minutes by heading in a precise centre
from right-back Dani Carvajal.

The one-way traffic
continued and Asensio, 20, made it 2-0 just before the interval with a clever
lob after taking a long pass from defender Raphael Varane.

Sociedad never
appeared to have the necessary spirit and craft to turn the game around, and
Bale made it 3-0 in stoppage time after being played through by Toni Kroos.

Real were obliged to
win given that historic rivals Barcelona started out Saturday with a 6-2
crushing of Real Betis. Later Sunday, Atletico Madrid were to host
newly-promoted Alaves.

Meanwhile, Athletic
Bilbao made a poor start to their league campaign Sunday, with a 2-1 defeat at
modest Sporting Gijon.

Gijon dominated from
start to finish but lacked a cool finish in the first half.

However, they went
ahead six minutes after the interval, when Duje Cop acrobatically turned in a
corner from the promising Burgui. Three minutes later, Victor Rodriguez made it
2-0 for the hosts by heading in another clever corner from Burgui, who is on
loan from Real Madrid.

Isma Lopez could
have made it 3-0 for Gijon, but had a penalty well saved by Bilbao’s veteran
keeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Borja Viguera pulled
a goal back for the visitors five minutes from time by deflecting home a shot
from fellow youngster Inaki Williams, but Gijon managed to hold on for the win.

“It was
important for us to make a positive start today, and that’s what we have
done,” Gijon’s Rodriguez said.

“We were
positive and energetic right from the start and that is reflected in the final
result.”

Meanwhile, Bilbao
coach Ernesto Valverde said: “We didn’t really get into the game until the
last 20 minutes, and by then they were 2-0 up.

“We wasted
about an hour of the game, to be honest.”

Gijon – who escaped
relegation on the last day last season – have made a handful of interesting
signings, unlike Bilbao, who are constrained by their traditional policy of
only taking players from the Basque provinces.

Bilbao finished
fifth last season, but on Sunday’s showing will struggle to repeat that
achievement.

Later Sunday,
Atletico Madrid were due to host and newly-promoted Alaves.

Leading the Atletico
attack, in the absence of Antoine Griezmann, will be fellow Frenchman Kevin
Gameiro, signed from Sevilla.

GNA

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