Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain
Zinedine Zidane got off to a winning start as the new manger of the Real Madrid senior side. After coaching Los Blancos’ Castilla side, the Frenchman was named as Rafael Benitez’s successor on Monday, shortly after the club announced the sacking of the former Liverpool manager.
His tenure at the senior side got off to a great start after a five-nil demolition of Deportivo La Coruña, thanks to a Karim Benzema brace, and a hat-trick from Gareth Bale.
The home side started very well and dominated possession early on, although the visitors looked a threat on the counter-attack.
In the 7th minute, the home side almost found the opener when a Cristiano Ronaldo strike from a tight-angle, forced Germán Lux into a good save at his near post.
In the 10th minute, the visitors almost took the lead when Pedro Mosquera found Lucas, who was one-on-one with Keylor Navas, but the Costa Rican stopper made the save to deny the visitors an early lead.
Three minutes later, a good cross from Marcelo found Karim Benzema, but his header under-pressure, sailed over the bar.
A minute later, Ronaldo cut-inside before firing a deflected effort that flew just wide. The resulting corner gave Los Blancos the lead. After Sergio Ramos fired towards goal, Benzema flicked on the effort past Lux to give the home side the lead. There was a suspicion of offside, however the Frenchman was level, whilst his teammate Gareth Bale, wasn’t. The goal was his 100th in the league for the home side.
In the 21st minute, a low-cross by Isco was met first-time by Marcelo, who shot wide.
A minute later, the home side doubled their lead. A fantastic cross from Dani Carvajal was met by Bale, who headed beyond Lux. It was the Welshman’s tenth goal of the season.
Two minutes later, Ronaldo almost got his name on the scoresheet when he cut-inside before firing inches wide of the far post, with Lux beaten again.
In the 36th minute, Lucas came close when he shot just wide of the far post. A minute later, he repeated a minute’s work by unleashing a fierce left-footed effort, this time firing wide of Navas’ right-hand post.
In the 38th minute, a beautiful piece of football from the home side almost created their third. A fantastic break from Los Blancos eventually resulted in Bale finding Ronaldo, but the forward was to be denied by the woodwork from a header.
Two minutes later, the visitors came close when Luis Alberto attempted to curl an effort into the top-corner, however, it was just too high.
That was the last attempt of the first half as the referee blew his whistle to bring the first 45 minutes to an end.
During the interval, both sides made substitutions. The home side brought on Raphaël Varane for Sergio Ramos, whilst the visitors brought on former Newcastle player Jonás Gutiérrez for Fede Cartabia.
The second period began with the hosts in the ascendancy, and it took barely four minutes for them to make it three. Ronaldo pulled the ball back to Bale, who opened his body up, before slotting past Lux, for his second of the match, and Los Blancos’ third.
In the 62nd minute, he made it four, with another header completing his hat-trick. A fantastic run from Carvajal resulted in a corner. The resulting corner was brilliantly delivered by Toni Kroos, who found the Welshman, who climbed above Sidnei to head past Lux.
In the 65th minute, both sides made changes with Isco departing for James Rodríguez. The visitors made a double substitution with Luisinho coming on for Fernando Navarro and Oriol Riera coming on for Fayçal Fajr.
Three minutes later, substitute Gutiérrez shot from-range, but Navas had it covered.
In the 73rd minute, the home side made their third and final change, with hat-trick hero Bale departing for Jesé Rodríguez.
In the 78th minute, Mosquera shot from range, but Navas did well to tip it around the post. The resulting corner came to nothing.
A minute later, Luka Modrić found Ronaldo, but from a tight-angle, the winger put his effort wide.
In the 87th minute, the visitors almost got a consolation when they sprung the offside trap, however, they overplayed the chance, and Pepe was there to clear the danger.
A minute later, a great run from Marcelo picked out Ronaldo, but the pace of the ball ricocheted off the Portuguese winger, who couldn’t direct his first time shot on-target.
The home side made it five soon after. A fantastic run from substitute Jesé Rodríguez saw the forward pick-out Ronaldo, but the former’s pass was slightly behind the former Manchester United man, who couldn’t turn and get his shot away, with the loose ball falling to Benzema, who rifled it in, with the aid of the underside of the bar.
That was the last action of the game as the referee blew his whistle to bring the game to an end, and give Zinedine Zidane the perfect start as Real Madrid manager: with a comfortable victory and clean sheet.
The result for Zidane’s side meant that they remain in third place on 40 points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid in second on 41 points, who play tomorrow. Los Blancos’ arch-rivals Barcelona won today and are in first on 42 points and have a game in-hand. The defeat for Deportivo meant that they remain in ninth on 27 points.