Madrid : Gareth Bale responded in style to his critics with a fine finish as Real Madrid got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win at Real Sociedad. Borja Mayoral rewarded a bright start by Real with his first Madrid goal before Sociedad’s Kevin Rodrigues scored at both ends to give the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead. And Bale secured the three points as he sped past Rodrigues and dinked the ball over Geronimo Rulli for just his second goal of the season on the hour mark.
Victory moves the European champions up to fourth and within four points of leaders Barcelona. Bale had received stinging criticism from the Spanish press and Madrid fans for his underwhelming displays in Ronaldo’s absence in recent weeks as Real dropped points at home to Valencia and Levante. “It’s great to always score, but the most important thing was to get the three points for the team, get back on track and get back to winning ways,” Bale told Spanish TV station Movistar. “I just have to try to keep my head down and keep working hard and that’s all I can do. “I can’t control what goes on, I can only control how hard I work on the pitch. “You go through ups and downs in your career — it is how you bounce back.” Without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, as he completed a five-game ban, and injured Karim Benzema, Zinedine Zidane handed 20-year-old Mayoral a shock start up front. And the Frenchman’s faith was rewarded inside 20 minutes when Mayoral swept home a loose ball with a classy finish from close range. Mayoral’s strike meant Madrid have now matched a world record of scoring in 73 consecutive games set by Pele’s Santos in the 1960s.