Gareth Bale netted and Sergio Ramos saw red as Real Madrid swept to a confident 3-0 away victory over Deportivo La Coruna to open their LaLiga title defence.
Zinedine Zidane called for big year from Bale ahead of the match and the Wales international responded by scoring Madrid’s opening league goal of the season for a third consecutive campaign.
Casemiro, in with Bale as two of four changes from the Supercopa de Espana second-leg victory over Barcelona, added to his UEFA Super Cup goal against Manchester United by capping a brilliant Madrid passing move to double the visitors’ lead.
Ramos was fortunate not to be sent off for putting his hand to the face of Depor defender Fabian Schar after the break, but the captain was perhaps unlucky to receive a second yellow card in stoppage time.
Toni Kroos’ deflected strike had already sealed an impressive victory, which came without suspended star Cristiano Ronaldo and was capped by Florin Andone’s late penalty miss, ensuring Madrid went straight to the top of the table after title rivals Barca defeated Real Betis 2-0 at home earlier on Sunday.
Madrid have now won 13 of their last 14 games against Depor as they bid to win back-to-back LaLiga titles for the first time since 2008.
Andone, linked with a Deportivo exit, failed to convert two excellent early chances. The striker created the first himself, battling past Dani Carvajal, who claimed for a foul, and forcing Keylor Navas into a good diving save from a tight angle.
Andone then missed an even better opportunity, racing through on goal in oceans of space after Juanfran’s througball, but failing to beat Navas as the Madrid goalkeeper again got down to deny him.
Those squandered chances proved costly when Madrid moved ahead in the 20th minute. Luka Modric’s shot from 20 yards was poorly dealt with by Depor goalkeeper Ruben Martinez, with Karim Benzema’s touch on the rebound allowing Bale to slam in the simplest of finishes from two yards.
Seven minutes later, Madrid doubled their lead with another close-range finish, but this time it capped a magnificent move that saw Madrid complete 44 passes before Casemiro tapped in after Marcelo worked space against Juanfran and delivered a threatening low cross.