Zidane gets rousing start as Real Madrid coach

Madrid, Jan 10 (IANS) Real Madrid’s new coach Zinedine Zidane got off to a winning start as Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick to help the team to a comfortable 5-0 victory at home to Deportivo la Coruna in his debut as the head coach.

Zidane was named as the replacement for the sacked Rafael Benitez on Monday and was received by an ovation in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium before the game kicked off on Saturday, reports Xinhua.

He made one big change from the side Benitez usually played with midfielder Isco back in favour ahead of James Rodriguez, otherwise there were few changes to Benitez’s line-up. The change was in the attitude of the players.

Real Madrid opened the scoring after 14 minutes when Karim Benzema confirmed his excellent moment of form and doubled their lead seven minutes later as Gareth Bale headed home a header from the right.

Zidane’s players were performing with a spirit they had not shown under Rafael Benitez, although Lucas Perez went close on a couple of occasions for the visitors before halftime.

Bale added his second with a left foot shot from a Ronaldo cross just after the break and finished his hat-trick with his second headed goal of the game following a 63rd minute corner.

Benzema rounded off the scoring in the last minute of the game to give Zidane a perfect start to his reign as coach.

Earlier in the day, Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as FC Barcelona cruised past Granada 4-0, with Neymar scoring the fourth goal of the game.

Kevin Gameiro scored twice – the second penalty which should not have been given – as Sevilla defeated Athletic Club Bilbao 2-0 in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium while Pepe Mel’s job at Real Betis is very much on the line after his side’s dreadful run of form continued with a 0-1 defeat away to Getafe.

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