Madrid's best moments came on the counterattack.
On their first goal, Karim Benzema excellently spotted Cristiano Ronaldo as soon as the latter made a quick run behind Sociedad's defense. Ronaldo brought the ball down with one touch near the post and smashed it into the other side with his second.
On the second, the roles were reversed. Ronaldo broke down the left wing and fed Benzema in the middle of the box with a flick of his boot. Instinctively, the Frenchman opened his body and struck a perfect first-time shot into the bottom right corner.
Los Blancos continued to dominate. After Ronaldo broke away on another counterattack, the referee gave Madrid a harsh penalty after Markel Bergara's trailing hand made contact with the ball. The decision was specious at best, as Bergara had gone to ground and did not extend his hand more than he had to.
Ronaldo didn't care, as he nonchalantly stroked the ball right down the middle of the goal to raise the score to 3-0.
Thereafter, Madrid were simply having fun. Sociedad simply could not cope with their pace and precision on the counterattack, leaving players completely unmarked and giving them way too much space.
Such were the circumstances of Sami Khedira's first goal in La Liga this season. Dani Carvajal raced through Sociedad's defense and played a pass to Gareth Bale, who laid it off for Khedira, who blasted his shot right down the middle.
The goalkeeper should have done more, but it wouldn't have helped much.
Sociedad came out much fiercer and more committed for the second half and even got a goal back, but by that point it did not really matter.
Cristiano Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a signature free-kick in the 76th minute, and that was that.
Let's take a look at how each player did.
|Real Madrid Player Ratings|
|Real Sociedad Player Ratings|
|De la Bella||C+|
Key Player Ratings
Cristiano Ronaldo: A+
Ronaldo delivered a textbook performance. He simply had his way with Sociedad whenever he got the ball and rather effortlessly bagged yet another hat-trick.
He was omnipresent and prominently involved in nearly all of Real Madrid's counterattacks. Ronaldo was helped by the fact that Sociedad seemed intent on leaving him unmarked, but this was the sort of opponent against whom he could flex his muscle.
Sociedad stood no chance.
Gareth Bale: A-
Observers probably won't seize on this match as an opportunity to criticize Bale, but he definitely played second fiddle to Ronaldo during this game.
He had some excellent moments in the first half and deftly assisted Sami Khedira's goal, but he faded a bit in the second half, ceding the ball to Ronaldo on the other wing.
Yet other than one clearly missed chance, there was not much to criticize about Bale's performance.
Karim Benzema: A-
Benzema, who has often been excoriated by fans of Real Madrid and France, had nothing to be ashamed of after this performance.
Only a player of extraordinary quality could have first-timed a shot while opening his body like he did for Real Madrid's second goal. The opportunity was a consequence of his constant involvement in the build-up play and excellent linking with Ronaldo and Luka Modric in midfield.
Though he, like much of Real Madrid, dropped off significantly in the second half, his involvement allowed Los Blancos to play their counterattacking style to brilliant effect.
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