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BALE NETS AS MADRID BEGIN TITLE DEFENCE

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale was among the goalscorers as the defending champions of the La Liga started their title defence on a strong note. Zinedine Zidane and his boys defeated Deportivo 3-0 away to send a strong message to all rivals this term. Goals from Bale, Casemiro and Toni Kroos sealed a brilliant start to the new campaign for the Los Blancos.

Madrid were without Cristiano Ronaldo, who remains suspended following the loss of his appeal against the five-game ban for pushing a referee after sending him off. In the Super Copa clash against Copa del Rey winners Barcelona, Ronaldo scored a brilliant goal and removed his jersey in celebration, earning his first yellow. He was booked for simulation minutes later and had to be sent off. He pushed the referee in anger so LA Liga banned him for five games.

The Euro 2016 winner is very frustrated that the appeal did not get repealed or at least reduced. He is set to miss the first four games of the new season, having missed the second leg of the Super Copa clash. Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema scored in the second leg to seal a 5-1 aggregate win and deliver yet another title.

While the team would be seeking to clear out all trophies, the La Liga is expected to be top priority as they have lost recent seasons to Barcelona. Before the current title they lifted it last in 2012 when Jose Mourinho won it. Having won three Champions League titles out of possible four, the La Liga should get higher priority. You can find sites to get them at odds as high as 3/1 to win the league, which doesn’t seem bad given how weak Barcelona look after losing Neymar.

Bale and Benzema led the attack as the team posted a confident win. The Welsh forward scored in the 20th minute. Minutes later Casemiro doubled the advantage through a close range tap-in. The champions’ authority was never in doubt as they totally outclassed their rivals. After the hour mark Kroos completed the three-goal rout.

The hosts lost an opportunity to get a consolation as striker Florin Andone lost his penalty kick. Dani Carvajal was penalized for his clumsy challenge but Keylor Navas was up to the task. More late drama happened as captain Sergio Ramos was sent off in the dying seconds of the game after two yellow cards. Ramos equals the record 18 red cards for a single player in the La Liga – a record he would likely break proudly. His career tally is 23 already anyway.

Barcelona won their game as well, defeating Real Betis 2-0 at home. An own goal from Alin Tosca and another from Sergi Roberto was enough for the required three points. They are expected to challenge their rival for the title this term after coming close last term in a strong final push. They are yet to recover from the loss of playmaker Neymar but more players should join before the deadline or in January following the addition of Paulinho.

Published in Gareth Bale