Depor 0-3 Real Madrid LaLiga 2017: Match report, Bale scores, Ramos sent off
Deportivo la Coruña 0-3 Real Madrid: match report
Real Madrid started the defence of their Liga title up north in A Coruña at the Riazor as Pepe Mel's Depor looked to put a spanner in the works of what many believe will be a stroll to another league title winning season.
Depor were putting that theory to the test early on and Florin Andone had already tested Keylor Navas twice from one-on-ones but failed to beat him on both occasions.
Zakaria Bakkali was lively too if not a little rash and he headed a decent chance from a corner over the bar just minutes after Andone's two chances.
None of that seemed to matter after 20 minutes as a Modric shot from distance was parried by Ruben Martinez and Benzema got a toe to the rebound only for Bale, unmarked, to poke it home at the far post. Real Madrid were up and running.
Just seven minutes later, two of Real Madrid's Brazilians teamed up as Marcelo drilled a low, hard cross to the back post and Casemiro was at the back post to tap that one home. If Real Madrid weren't excellent, they were proving prolific in front of goal.
Andone continued to wage a war against Real Madrid's back four with Nacho and Dani Carvajal in line for some particularly explosive affairs. Ramos was not left out either and when the Romanian was out on the left side, himself and the Real Madrid captain had a couple of flashpoints.
That was how the half would end with Real Madrid two goals to the good and Andone continuing to knock on their back door with no answer.
Sergio Ramos was lucky not to see red in the second half as he put a clear hand up into Fabian Schär's face and only received a booking. Just moments later, Ramos cleared off the line to foil Andone once again.
The game, at that stage, was still tense and if you asked a Depor fan, up for the taking. That was before Toni Kroos, after 62 minutes got on the end of a Bale cutback after good work from Benzema to put the Welshman through. The German drove home the third and all of a sudden an uphill battle was starting to look like a monumental one.
Guilherme rattled a shot off the crossbar and Depor tried but it was futile as Real Madrid were always able to keep their three goal lead and Depor couldn't get close. There was still time for late drama though as Dani Carvajal went through Bruna Gama and gave away a penalty before Florin Andone stepped up and missed it.
And then, Sergio Ramos, on a yellow, jumped in the air with Borje Valle and was adjudged to have caught him to receive his second yellow and his marching orders to receive the 23rd red card of his career.
Real Madrid would have liked an easier game to start their LaLiga season but the three points will surely ease their tired bodies. Depor might have been half expecting the result given how much Real Madrid were talked up after the Super Cup.
In any case, it's three points out of three for Real Madrid and back to the drawing board for Pepe Mel.
Deportivo vs Real Madrid live stream online: latest news
Deportivo vs Real Madrid live stream: LaLiga match preview
Depor host reigning Liga champions Real Madrid at Riazor looking to build on the improvement generated last season after the arrival of Pepe Mel in March. Zinedine Zidane’s side will be aiming to maintain a record of scoring in every game that stretches back 68 games to the semi-finals of the 2015-16 Champions League, when Manchester City became the last side to shut out the free-scoring Merengues.
Zidane has overseen a successful start to the season at the Bernabéu with victories over Manchester United in the European Super Cup and Barcelona in the national equivalent, beating the eternal rival 5-1 on aggregate. Madrid were defeated just three times last season, by Sevilla, Valencia and Barcelona, and thrashed Depor 6-2 in this fixture during the run-in as Zidane’s side claimed a first Liga title since 2011-12.
The Real boss has few injury concerns going into the opening game of the season and as his side showed over two legs against Barcelona, plenty of options available in a campaign that will see the Liga and European champions attempt to pull off an unprecedented single-season sextuple.
Zidane will have to manage without Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese currently serving a five-match ban for shoving the referee during the opening leg of the Super Cup tie against Barcelona but in Marco Asensio he has the most exciting young player in the league at his disposal to cover for the absence of a player with 11 career Liga goals against Sunday’s opposition.
Gareth Bale could be in line for a first Liga start in four months after missing the end of 2016-17 with a calf problem while Karim Benzema found his form in the 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the Bernabéu last Wednesday, scoring a fine goal and looking sharp and participative throughout the game.
Casemiro and Isco were both rested in the Bernabéu and will probably return to the starting line-up in Riazor with the back four likely to be unchanged.
Mel came in to steady the ship with Depor in 16th and guided the side to safety – albeit with no improvement in league position – but it was the manner of the Galician’s survival that suggested there could be more to come this season. Barcelona were beaten in Riazor and Atlético held while Mel managed to avoid the pitfall of losing to any side outside the top 10 during his three-month tenure, a key component of his successful fireman’s job.
Depor have not profited in terms of squad depth from the summer window, losing seasoned campaigners in Pablo Ínsua, Oriol Riera, Fayçal Fajr and Alex Bergantiños while also seeing some of their attacking verve in the shape of Marlos Moreno and Gaël Kakuta return to their parent clubs.
Mel’s side struggled for goals last season, scoring just 43, and desperately missed the keen eye for the onion bag of Lucas Pérez. Negotiations are ongoing to bring the 28-year-old back from his Arsenal purgatory but it will not happen in time to aid Depor against Madrid.
Encouragement for Depor fans was abundant in pre-season, Mel’s side scoring freely in friendly matches against lower-league opposition and loan deals for Aston Villa’s Carles Gil, Valencia’s Zakaria Bakkali and Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde should provide some youthful verve throughout the campaign, although the Castilla youngster is ineligible for this one courtesy of the so-called “fear clause.”
However, the side’s only game against an opponent of similar standing to Madrid during the off-season ended in a 4-0 defeat at Porto.
Deportivo vs Real Madrid live stream online: potential line-ups
Deportivo XI: Rubén, Juanfran, Schär, Sidnei, Luisinho, Cartabia, Borges, Guilherme, Mosquera, Bakkali, Andone
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo/Theo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Bale, Benzema
Deportivo vs Real Madrid live online: LaLiga live betting
Depor are chalked up at fairly long odds of 17/2 to cause an upset in Riazor with Real priced at 3/10. In the goalscorer stakes, Karim Benzema is favourite to hit the net first at 11/4 with Depor’s closest challenger, Florin Andone, at 11/1. Casemiro, who has been in good scoring form of late, is chalked up at 22/1.