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Bale’s hat-trick hand Zidane winning start

Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Zinedine Zidane began his reign as Real Madrid boss with a comprehensive win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Karim Benzema claimed his 100th league goal for the club with an early opener in the first game since the departure of previous manager Rafa Benitez.

Bale headed the second and found the bottom corner after the break before sealing his treble with another header.

Benzema hit a fifth to leave Real two points behind league leaders Barcelona.

Zidane’s side could have enjoyed a bigger winning margin, with Cristiano Ronaldo heading against the post in the first half.

Barca’s comfortable 4-0 victory over Granada put added pressure on Real at the outset, and they could have been behind before Benzema opened the scoring.

Deportivo had lost just once in nine league games and started confidently, carving the Real defence wide open to create a chance for Lucas Perez, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Real made the most of their escape, and were two goals up inside the first quarter of the contest.

From Toni Kroos’ 15th minute corner, Benzema flicked home a Sergio Ramos shot, despite Deportivo’s justifiable claims that Bale was offside and interfering with play.

Bale doubled the advantage in the 23rd minute, heading home an inviting Dani Carvajal cross.

It was almost three before the interval as Ronaldo headed a Bale cross against a post at the culmination of another flowing team move.

Ronaldo turned provider after the break to find Bale, who coolly picked his spot from the edge of the area.

A richly deserved hat-trick arrived in the 64th minute thanks to another imperious leap to head home from close range.

It was Bale’s last significant contribution before he was substituted to a standing ovation from the 70,000 crowd in the Santiago Bernabeu, while Ronaldo twice went close to making it five late on.

Benzema did just that in stoppage time, following up to find the net off the underside of the bar after Ronaldo had again been denied.

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