Real Madrid 5-2 Real Sociedad: LaLiga goals, result, report
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid prepared for their Champions League clash against PSG with a LaLiga stroll against Real Sociedad. LAFC vs LA Galaxy: Vela vs Zlatan live online, MLS week 25
Real Madrid got back to winning ways ahead of their crunch clash with Paris Saint-Germain as a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped them thrash Real Sociedad 5-2 in LaLiga on Saturday night.
Real Madrid warm up for PSG clash with big win
Goals by Lucas Vázquez and Toni Kroos completed a victory which, though unlikely to have a significant impact on the title hopes of a side still 16 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, serves as a confidence boost ahead of a Champions League tie they cannot lose if they are to claim major silverware this term.
Indeed, the only question mark for Zinedine Zidane's men is whether this was, in the end, too comfortable a way to prepare for the far stiffer test that Neymar, Mbappé et al will provide on Wednesday evening.
Real Sociedad succumb after dreadful first half
For La Real, meanwhile, defeat will hardly come as a shock, given their record of one win at the Bernabéu since 1994; but the manner of the reverse - particularly an abject first-half display - surely re-exerts plenty of the pressure on Eusébio Sacristán that had been eased by last weekend's 5-0 thumping of Deportivo.
His underachieving side remain down in 14th after this beating - and could be leapfrogged by Espanyol on Sunday - and positive results against Red Bull Salzburg and Levante over the coming week now seem imperative for La Real's boss, who, it has been said, had saved his job against Depor.
Casemiro, Bale left on bench ahead of PSG match-up
With one eye on PSG, Zidane made two changes from the disappointing draw at Levante seven days previously, leaving Casemiro and Gareth Bale on the bench and handing starts to Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio.
Only one winner after Vázquez's first-minute goal
And, in what was their first outing at home since their embarrassing Copa del Rey exit to Leganés last month, Real Madrid could not have wished for a better start than to see Vázquez head in Cristiano's cross with just 49 seconds on the clock - the side's fastest goal this season.
In fact, they could not have wished for a better first 45: La Real offered so little resistance that the hosts were 4-0 up by the break, Kroos netting a sweet strike shortly after the half-hour mark, in between two goals for Cristiano - a tap-in from Marcelo's low cross and a firm header from the German's corner.
Aided by a Madrid team whose thoughts were increasingly on PSG - Luka Modric was withdrawn after an hour with Wednesday in mind - the visitors improved slightly after half time, and substitute Jon Bautista produced a neat finish to pull one back with 15 minutes to go.
Cristiano completes his hat-trick after Rulli mistake
But keeper Gerónimo Rulli's fumble from a shot by the recently introduced Bale then allowed Cristiano to seal his treble from close range, before Asier Illarramendi volleyed in a second La Real consolation against his former club.
Real Madrid 5-2 Real Sociedad: as it happened
Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad live online: match preview
Real Madrid host Real Sociedad in the Bernabéu on Saturday in what for Zinedine Zidane’s beleaguered side is essentially a dress rehearsal for the season-defining first leg of the Champions League clash against PSG next Wednesday.
Zidane will be keenly aware that the Ligue 1 giants handed Barcelona their backside on a plate in the opening leg of the last 16 tie between the sides last season and only divine intervention on one hand and a fair dose of complacency on the other saw the runaway Liga leaders through that test.
Out of contention on the domestic front, Real’s only hope of salvaging something from 2017-18 is Europe. However, the home side do not have an awful lot of room for manoeuvre in LaLiga and will have to guard against the temptation to rest more than one eye on next week’s business against a Sociedad side who stuck five past Depor last weekend.
Zidane will be praying that nothing befalls any of his defenders in the Bernabéu with Dani Carvajal suspended against PSG and Jesús Vallejo still recovering from a hamstring problem. That leaves the Madrid boss with few options at the back but Zidane is likely to opt for his strongest side in any case in the hope that a positive result with his regulars on duty will provide a shot in the arm after setbacks in LaLiga and the Copa in recent weeks.
Up front the untouchable triumvirate of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale will start and Zidane will hope that they put in a better performance than they did against Levante last week, when it fell to Isco to come off the bench and save the day. In midfield, there are unlikely to be any surprises with Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos patrolling the centre as Zidane reverts to his favoured 4-3-3 after a number of mostly ineffective formation changes this season in the absence of any components of the from three.
The visitors are without top scorer Willian José and are also missing Adnan Januzaj and vice-captain Carlos Martínez. However, Imanol Agirretxe has been feeling his way back after another injury and has a little score to settle at the Bernabéu after picking up an ankle injury there in December 2015 that although it seemed innocuous enough eventually kept him on the sidelines for over a year after a relapse the following February.
Sociedad have been on a dreadful run of form in 2018, the victory over Depor halting a run of four straight defeats that has left the txuri-urdin firmly rooted in the bottom half of the table. La Real also haven’t tasted victory in the Bernabéu since 2004 and last managed to leave with a point in 2006, so expectations won’t be particularly high among the visiting side. Against this Real Madrid though anything is possible Eusebio may fancy of chances of outfoxing his opposite number to at least get on the board in Madrid.
Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad live online: selected betting odds
You can get odds of 29/1 on a goalless draw in the Bernabéu while a Real victory and both teams to score is chalked up at 2/1. A cheeky Sociedad 1-0 win is 41/1 and a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick pays out at 8/1.