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Gareth Bale receives mixed reaction at Bernabeu in Madrid win over Real Sociedad

Luka Modric
Luka Modric scored Real Madrid’s third as Zinedine Zidane’s side stayed joint-top with Barcelona

Substitute Gareth Bale received a mixed reception at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid fought back to defeat Real Sociedad and stay joint-top of La Liga with Barcelona.

Bale was pictured with a flag reading “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order” while on international duty and was initially jeered by home supporters.

Karim Benzema cancelled out Willian Jose’s second-minute opener.

Second-half goals from Luka Modric and Federico Valverde then sealed victory.

Earlier on Saturday, reigning champions Barcelona edged past Leganes to move three points ahead of Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane’s side made the worst possible start to their bid to keep up with their rivals when Willian Jose intercepted Sergio Ramos’ ill-judged back pass and rounded goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

But Karim Benzema’s goal before half-time – his fifth in three games for Real – was followed by Valverde’s deflected shot and Modric’s well-taken finish as the hosts dominated after the interval.

Bale’s name had been jeered by supporters when announced on the team sheet prior to kick-off, and he received a similar response when introduced from the bench after 67 minutes for his first Real appearance since 5 October.

The Wales forward received heavy criticism in the Spanish media after posing with the contentious flag as his country secured qualification for Euro 2020 on Tuesday.

Manager Zidane has insisted there is no need to discuss the incident further, and by full-time Bale appeared to have earned back some support – receiving applause for the part he played in Modric’s third and also his defensive efforts as Real closed out the game.

Attention now turns to the Champions League for Zidane’s side, who host Paris St-Germain on Tuesday (20:00 GMT).

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