Sports

Bale hat-trick gives Zidane first win as Madrid boss

Champions League: Real Madrid, Dortmund, Juventus cruise on

Zinedine Zidane got off to a dream start as Real Madrid Coach as Gareth Bale’s hat-trick inspired a 5-0 demolition of Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

James Rodriguez had been tipped to start in the Frenchman’s first game in charge of Los Blancos, but reports Isco still had a future at the club appeared to have some truth as he was named alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in a three-man midfield, akin to that of Carlo Ancelotti’s reign.

Elsewhere, Dani Carvajal came in for Danilo at right-back after recovering from a long-standing thigh injury, while the ‘BBC’ of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were all in attendance.

Spectators were treated to an open encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the defensive lapses which overshadowed Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez’s reigns lingered in the background. Nonetheless, Lucas Perez, December’s Player of the Month, could only fire a close-range effort at Keylor Navas.

That was as good as it got for Depor as Benzema would raise the curtains on Zidane’s reign, backheeling a shot past German Lux, despite suspicions that Bale was offside in the build-up. The goal marked the Frenchman’s 100th in La Liga, at a rate of almost exactly one in every two games.

Bale returned to the right-wing position he took up under Ancelotti, having played centrally under Rafa Benitez, but he caught the eye with a number of dangerous deliveries into the box in the first half, before grabbing his 10th goal of the campaign with a powerful header.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, was desperate to join his fellow attackers on the scoresheet, but he was not in possession of his shooting boots against the Galicians. A series of failed snapshots was compounded by a header against the post from point-blank range after his late run was picked out by Bale.

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