Real Madrid moved back into the top four of La Liga after thumping lowly Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, with Cristiano Ronaldo ending a miserable run of league form with a late double.
Ronaldo had only scored four league goals before Sunday’s clash with third-from-bottom Deportivo, but the Portuguese added Real’s fifth and sixth with a smart volley and a diving header as they moved back above Villarreal and into the Champions League places.
Ronaldo was on his knees in the six-yard box claiming a penalty when Bale’s superb left-footed curling shot flew over his head and into the top corner of Deportivo keeper Ruben Martinez’ net in the first half.
Ronaldo’s luck was still out early on as Nacho and Bale cancelled out Deportivo’s opener, but he joined the party in the second period scoring twice, taking a kick in the head for good measure when he got his second. He even appeared to take a selfie of his injury with the club doctor’s mobile as he walked off.
Bale was Madrid’s best player from the start and it was his cross from the right from which Borja Mayoral tested Ruben who turned his shot away. He also dribbled clear and crossed for Ronaldo but he couldn’t keep his header down.
Deportivo were also creating chances and they took a shock lead. Dani Carvajal was pushed off the ball by Andone, Raphael Varane got the wrong side of Arsenal’s Lucas Perez and the loanee whipped the ball across the face of the goal where Adrian got to it before Marcelo to score.
Madrid continued to be as good going forward as they were poor in defence. Marcelo crashed a shot just wide form Bale’s cross. Ronaldo’s header was then brilliantly saved by Ruben and Marcelo wriggled clear into space only to see his shot trickle on to the post after Ruben had got a hand to it.
With the usual suspects failing to finish moves it was left to Nacho to show them how. The unassuming utility defender found space in the area, was found by Marcelo and side-footed a crisp finish into the corner past Ruben.
Then just before the break Bale’s left-foot curler put Madrid ahead. Marcelo crossed from the left. Ronaldo felt he was impeded as he tried to head it but it did not matter because Bale scored his seventh goal in six games against Deportivo, firing home as the Portugal captain protested.
Ronaldo’s luck did not improve at the restart. He tried to get in front of the last defender but fouled him instead as he attempted to convert Carvajal’s cross. Mayoral then so nearly turned in a Bale cross as Real Madrid pushed for the third.
Ruben saved brilliantly from Casemiro but could only push the ball away for a corner. From that corner Toni Kroos’ measured delivery was powered past the Deportivo keeper by Bale who had arrived with perfect timing and whose header had too much on it for Ruben.
Bale then almost made the fourth but Mayoral failed to finish from his perfect pass. That was the cue to throw on Karim Benzema for the young forward who had played well enough but missed too many opportunities. It was the first time the Bale, Benzema, Cristiano BBC had been on the pitch together since last April.
Bale turned provider once again and this time his pass, helped on by a clever flick from Ronaldo, fell to Modric and his finish was every bit as good as Bale’s for the first.
Ronaldo continued to plug away and eventually got his reward. He scored at the back post from Casemiro’s cross and then bravely headed in Lucas Vazquez’s cross taking a kick in the head as he dived to get to the ball first.
He asked for the phsyio’s phone as he trounced off so that he could take a look at the head wound. He had played well, scored twice. Now he had a scar to remember the game by.
There was still time for Nacho to score a clever seventh, spinning and shooting past Ruben who had been Deportivo’s best player and yet had conceded seven times.