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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Real Madrid back to winning ways as Bale goal pleases Zidane

Winer was booed at times during home Champions League win over Apoel Nicosia after indifferent spell, but manager had backed him to hit top form again following last year's injury.

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale has been criticised by Real Madrid supporters in the recent past. Vincent West / Reuters
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale has been criticised by Real Madrid supporters in the recent past. Vincent West / Reuters

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was full of praise for Gareth Bale after the Welshman netted the third goal in the 3-1 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday night.

The former Tottenham Hotspur man was booed at times during Wednesday's home Uefa Champions League win over Apoel Nicosia after an indifferent spell, but Zidane had backed Bale to hit top form again following last year's injury.

The 28-year-old winger responded by using his blistering speed to collect a long Isco ball over the top and coolly chip in his second goal of the season, and Zidane is certain there is more to come.

"He's had a great game and not just because of the goal," he said. "I'm happy he scored because he needed it. It wasn't easy, after running 70 metres, he finished very well and I am happy for him.

"He's not playing at his best but little by little we'll find the real Gareth. I know he can do much better and we have to be patient. He is happy with his goal, it's a weight off of his shoulders. But he has also worked hard defensively."

Earlier in the game, Borja Mayoral, 20, had opened his Madrid account and then provided the cross for Kevin Rodrigues to turn into his own net after the La Real full-back had levelled at the other end.

Mayoral's goal meant Los Blancos had scored in 73 consecutive games, equalling the record set between November 1961 and August 1963 by a Santos side containing Pele.

"We showed character to get the win because it's not an easy place to come," Zidane added. "Real Sociedad have had a good start to the season. We played 90 minutes at a great level, especially the first half. Bale and Borja's goals gave us the victory but it was achieved by the whole group.

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"We must congratulate the players for the run of 73 consecutive games scoring. They are the ones who run, fight and have achieve this record. We can keep the run going in the coming games. But for me the most important thing is the victory and how we got it. We played very well from the start."

Madrid broke a run of two consecutive draws in Primera Liga with their win at Anoeta and now sit fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Barcelona.

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