Gareth Bale scored a stunning goal for Real Madrid early in their match against Real Sociedad, but he was powerless to stop an impressive comeback from the hosts as Los Blancos fell 4-2 on Sunday.
Sergio Ramos had opened the score for the visitors and Bale added a second early, displaying some nifty footwork. However, an inability to defend crosses and set pieces came back to haunt Real.
Inigo Martinez pulled one back for the Basques before a brace from David Zurutuza gave Sociedad a surprise lead, and Carlos Vela blasted home from close range to add a fourth after he appeared to control the ball with his arm.
Bleacher Report UK shared this image of Bale, with the same shocked look on his face as his Real teammates:
The match had started perfectly for Los Blancos, who were up by two goals inside of 11 minutes. Bale's piece of skill in particular was mighty impressive, nutmegging a defender and finishing expertly from inside the box.
Squawka has the Vine:
As shared by WhoScored.com, Bale's production for Real has been superb in La Liga:
The Upright's Robbie Dunne made a bold proclamation after seeing the goal:
Former England striker Gary Lineker also shared his praise for the mercurial Welshman:
Real looked like they could score double-digit goals on the night, but gave the hosts too much space to fight their way back into the match. Four goals later, desperation struck. Carlo Ancelotti had limited attacking options available on the bench, and despite a late flurry of chances, Los Blancos couldn't find a way through the Basque wall.
Bale appeared to vanish in the second half, but he could hardly be blamed for the defensive collapse. The lack of a true holding midfielder really hurt the team, as shared by Bleacher Report's Tre Atkinson:
Dunne believes this result will force Los Blancos to go back to the transfer market:
As shared by WhoScored.com, conceding four or more goals truly is a rarity for Real:
Cristiano Ronaldo didn't feature for Los Blancos due to an injury, and Bale was unable to take over the mantle as the team's primary force in the attacking third. James Rodriguez is still looking for his best fit in the starting XI, and a lack of penetration became evident once Sociedad took the lead.
The Welsh international can't help the fact Real have problems dealing with crosses and ball-heavy midfielders, however, and this poor result can hardly be pinned on his performance.