Bale off the mark as Real start LaLiga life without…

Gareth Bale was on target as Real Madrid launched their LaLiga campaign with a comfortable win over Getafe.

A Real side shorn of the services of the departed Cristiano Ronaldo and with summer signing Thibaut Courtois sitting on the bench alongside Luka Modric, Raphael Varane and Casemiro cruised to a 2-0 victory at the Bernabeu.

Dani Carvajal headed them into a 20th-minute lead with his first league goal since April 2014 and Bale, who had earlier hit the bar, doubled their advantage six minutes after the restart to hand new manager Julen Lopetegui a win in his first league game at the helm.

Madrid started in confident mood and Getafe goalkeeper David Soria had to pull off a fine fourth-minute save to keep out Bale’s curling effort, although a late offside flag made his heroics somewhat unnecessary.

Bale, who had scored the club’s first LaLiga goal of the season in each of the three previous campaigns, only just failed to extend that record when he dived to meet Marcelo’s 16th-minute cross, but saw his header hit the crossbar.

However, they did take the lead four minutes later when the Wales international, who had started wide on the right, switched to the left and sent in a teasing cross which debutant Soria could only punch to full-back Carvajal, who looped a header over the keeper and into the empty net.

Real thought they had a chance to double their advantage 11 minutes before the break when referee Javier Estrada pointed to the spot after skipper Sergio Ramos appeared to have been pushed by Damian Suarez as he tried to meet Karim Benzema’s cross.

However, Getafe were spared when it was ruled that Benzema had been in an offside position before he had picked out the defender.

Getafe resumed at a much higher tempo as they attempted to deny the hosts time and space, but they contributed to their own downfall within six minutes of the restart after defender Djene Dakonam had been caught in possession by Marco Asensio.

Asensio looked up and squared for the fast-arriving Bale, whose first-time effort beat Soria at his near post despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.

The post came to Soria’s rescue three minutes later after Asensio had let fly following Marcelo’s surge into the penalty area, although he saved from the same man on the hour after the Real man had linked up with Benzema.

Bale whistled a curling effort inches past the angle of bar and post with 19 minutes remaining as Lopetegui prepared to bring on Modric, but Getafe very nearly reduced the deficit when Angel only just failed to reach fellow substitute Ivan Alejo’s volleyed cross.

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