Madrid: Gareth Bale deputised ably for the injured Cristiano Ronaldo with a wonder strike from 35 yards as Real Madrid kept up the pressure on Atletico Madrid and Barcelona with a 4-0 win away to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Gareth Bale shoots at the Real Sociedad goal
Atletico stay top, three points clear of third-placed Real, as they squeezed out a tense 1-0 win over Villarreal, whilst Barca remain in second after overcoming Real Betis 3-1 thanks to two goals from Lionel Messi.
Real were leading 1-0 thanks to Asier Illarramendi's opener when Bale pounced on an error from Sociedad keeper Claudio Bravo to register his 18th goal of the season with a sweet left-footed striker 25 minutes from time before Pepe and Alvaro Morata rounded off the scoring.
"I value the whole game because I think everyone played well and with a lot of intelligence," said Real boss Carlo Ancelotti.
"I am very happy tonight because it was not an easy game. I have a team that likes to fight and I am very proud of them."
> Atletico Madrid 1-0 Villarreal
> Barcelona 3-1 Real Betis
> Real Sociedad 0-4 Real Madrid 4