After suffering two losses in first three La Liga matches, Real Madrid needed to make a statement and carry over their recent Champions League success into their domestic play.
Cristiano Ronaldo responded with his first hat trick of year and Gareth Bale netted a brace in an eight-minute span as Los Blancos lit up Deportivo 8-2 victory Saturday at Estadio Riazor.
Ronaldo upped his La Liga total to five goals with two in the first half and netted the hat trick in the 78th. Bale remained quiet until the 66th when he scored the first goal of his brace, and James Rodriguez provided a stunning score in the 36th. Chicharito also netted his first brace in a Madrid sweater in the 88th minute and added time.
Forward Karim Benzema earned his first two assists of the year on Rodriguez’s score and Ronaldo’s last goal, while defender Alvaro Arbeloa helped set up the Portuguese’s first strike.
Deportivo couldn’t muster any semblance of an attack until the final 40 minutes of play, failing to create a single shot on goal in the first half. But midfielder Haris Medunjanin managed to break through in the 51st minute, and forward Jose Toche came on in the 74th to score 10 minutes later even with Madrid well in control.
Los Blancos unleashed their barrage from all sides against Deportivo. Ronaldo began the onslaught by converting Arbeloa’s cross from the right wing into a fantastic header from the center of the box to the top left corner of the net.
Later Rodriguez accepted Benzema’s one-touch from the left wing, bent his left-footed shot from well outside the box, tucking it past keeper German Lux just inside the top right corner.
In the 41st, Ronaldo increased Madrid’s lead by recovering a loose ball after Benzema broke free and received a hard tackle from the out-of-position Lux. Ronaldo rifled the low strike into the net for the 3-0 advantage before the half.
Bale scored his first goal by slipping Marcelo’s clever through ball across the penalty area and into the lower right corner in the 66th. Isco got in on the action, and assisted Bale’s brace-clinching score in the 84th.
Madrid remain three points back of first-place Barcelona in the early stages of league play, but Saturday was the first time the offense truly clicked following their 5-1 blowout over Basel in Champions League.