Bale leads Madrid to opening 3-0 league win without Ronaldo
LA CORUNA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t missed by his team as Gareth Bale scored one goal and set up another to help Real Madrid start its defense of the Spanish league title with a 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Madrid’s easy win was only marred by Sergio Ramos being sent off in stoppage time when he picked up his second yellow card for elbowing an opponent’s head.
After withstanding Deportivo’s early surge, Bale showed Madrid didn’t miss the suspended Ronaldo by scoring its opening goal in the 20th minute.
Casemiro added a second goal seven minutes later, and Bale assisted Toni Kroos to round off the easy victory in the 63rd.
Before kickoff a minute’s silence was held at Riazor Stadium for the victims of the recent attacks in Barcelona and the nearby town of Cambrils.
Ronaldo received a five-match suspension for pushing a referee after he was sent off in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. He was suspended for the second leg of the season curtain-raiser because of the red card. Madrid beat Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate for the title.
Deportivo striker Florin Andone twice got past Madrid’s defense in the opening minutes, but each time goalkeeper Keylor Navas turned back his shots.
Bale then put Madrid in charge for good when he finished off the rebounds of back-to-back shots by Luka Modric and Karim Benzema. Marcelo then sent a low cross behind three defenders for Casemiro to tap in at the far post to make it 2-0.
Bale turned playmaker when he cut back from the left and found Kroos arriving at the top of the area, where the Germany midfielder drove in Bale’s pass.
Andone had one last chance to beat Navas when Madrid’s Dani Carvajal fouled Bruno Gama inside the area, but Navas pushed his 90th-minute penalty kick past his post.
Ramos was first booked for pushing Fabian Schar in the face during a scuffle in the 53rd.