Apr 5, 2014 at 7pm UK at ​Estadio Anoeta
Real Sociedad
0-4
Real Madrid

Gonzalez (48'), Martinez (56'), Bergara (71')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Illarramendi (45'), Bale (66'), Pepe (85'), Morata (88')
Alonso (40'), Illarramendi (50'), Carvajal (91')

Live Commentary: Real Sociedad 0-4 Real Madrid - as it happened

Real Madrid's midfielder Asier Illarramendi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid CF at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on April 5, 2014
© Getty Images
Relive Real Madrid's crucial 4-0 win over Real Sociedad courtesy of Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage of the match.

Real Madrid kept their La Liga title hopes alive with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Real Sociedad this evening.

Madrid struggled to get past Sociedad in the first half but went into the break ahead courtesy of an Asier Illarramendi finish from close range right on the stroke of half time.

The visitors dominated the second half, however, as Gareth Bale, Pepe and Alvaro Morata all scored to clinch a valuable victory for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

You can read how an action-packed 90 minutes unfolded with Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.


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6.30pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's La Liga encounter between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. Both sides are in need of three points for different reasons, so we should have an entertaining encounter on our hands. Let's start with a look at the hosts...

6.32pmSociedad's hopes of reaching the Champions League for a second consecutive season are very much alive, and victory against the likes of Real Madrid will only serve to add to their belief that they can catch fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao. Six points currently separate the two teams, while Sevilla are also very much in the mix, sitting level on 50 points with Sociedad.

6.34pmOne of Sociedad's biggest problems this season has been their defensive record. They have conceded 44 goals already this season, which is 10 more than Bilbao and among the worst in the top 13 of the table. If they are to catch their Basque rivals in the final Champions League place then it is likely to be a tight finish, meaning that goal difference could come into play.

6.36pmTo make a late charge for the top four, Sociedad will need to improve their consistency on the final straight. They have won two, lost two and drawn one of their last five matches, allowing Sevilla to overtake them in the table and in the race for fourth place.

6.38pmAt home, however, it is a different story. Sociedad have established themselves as a very tough team to beat at the Anoeta, losing just two of their last 29 home games in La Liga - a run that stretches all the way back to November 2012. Barcelona were beaten 3-1 here in February, while Bilbao have also come away from here with nothing this season. Indeed, they have won nine of their last 11 La Liga encounters in front of their own fans and kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven.

6.40pmMadrid pose a very different test to the majority of teams in La Liga, however, and Carlo Ancelotti's side have already dispatched of Sociedad once this season, thrashing them 5-1 in November. Cristiano Ronaldo got a hat-trick for Madrid in that match, but he is a high-profile absentee for them this evening after picking up an injury in the midweek win over Dortmund in the Champions League.

6.42pmThat 3-0 victory over Dortmund not only saw Madrid put one foot in the Champions League semis, but it also continued their recovery from two costly setbacks last month. A 4-3 defeat in a dramatic El Clasico was followed by a shock loss at the hands of Sevilla, putting Madrid at a disadvantage in the title race that, for once, sees three teams involved in the closing stages. A 5-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano last weekend was the perfect way to respond, and another win today would continue to build their confidence back up.

6.44pmThe pressure is firmly on Madrid, however. Atletico have already won today, while Barcelona are leading Real Betis 2-1 in their match. Should that result stay the same, Ancelotti's men would be six points behind their city rivals and five behind Barca. Anything less than a win for Madrid in that scenario could well signal the end of their title challenge this season.

6.46pmAs with Sociedad, it may be Madrid's defence that comes back to haunt them in the race for the title. In terms of goalscoring, only Barcelona can better them this season, but Carlo Ancelotti's side have conceded seven more than Barca and 10 more than Atletico. In such a tight tile race, goal difference could be key, and at the moment Barcelona have the advantage on that front.

6.48pmThey are generally good on the road, however. The recent away defeat to Sevilla was their first in 11 matches, while they have only lost twice on their travels in their last 23. They also have a very good record against Sociedad having won nine of the last 10 meetings, scoring at least three goals in their last four.

6.50pmTEAM NEWS: The big team news, as I have already mentioned, is that Cristiano Ronaldo is out for Madrid. With Di Maria also only fit for a place on the bench, Isco retains his starting spot alongside side Bale and Benzema in the front three. Full team news for both sides coming up...

6.52pmSOCIEDAD STARTING XI: Bravo; Gonzalez, C Martinez, Angel, I Martinez; Elustondo, Zurutuza, Bergara; Vela, Canales, Greizmann

6.54pmMADRID STARTING XI: Lopez; Ramos, Pepe, Nacho, Carvajal; Alonso, Modric, Illarramendi; Bale, Isco, Benzema

6.55pmPREDICTION: This is a real test for Madrid today. Sociedad are a very tricky team to beat at home and, without the talismanic Ronaldo, the visitors could well come unstuck tonight. However, it is a must-win game for them and they have plenty of experience pulling results out of the bag when they need to. I'll go for a 3-2 away victory.

6.57pmConfirmation that Barcelona have beaten Real Betis, with Lionel Messi scoring twice in a 3-1 win that puts Barca back just one point behind Atletico. It is all eyes on Madrid now. They simply have to win to remain in the title race because it is highly unlikely that Atletico and Barca will drop many points in the closing stages of the campaign.

6.58pmMadrid will be in no doubt how tricky this match will be, particularly having been held to a 3-3 draw in the same fixture last season. They were also without Ronaldo on that occasion, while their goalscorers (Higuain, Callejon and Khedira) have all either now left the club or are injured.

7pmBy the same token, this is also a huge game for Real Sociedad. Defeat could see them all but out of the race for a top four spot, so they will be just as desperate as Madrid to pick up all three points.

1 minKICKOFF: Madrid get us underway in their luminous orange away kit for a huge match for both sides. There is no Ronaldo but no room for error for Madrid, who simply have to win to stay in the title race.

3 minThe home fans are looking to make this a hostile environment early on, whistling whenever Madrid get possession of the ball. It certainly is one of the toughest grounds to visit in the league, and the fans play their part in that.

4 minThe hosts come forward early on as Vela looks to get on to a clever pass down the left channel, but Ramos makes a good block. From the resulting corner, Vela has space in the box but is quickly closed down as Madrid clear the danger.

6 minThis has been a really bright start from the hosts to this match. They have had an early penalty shout as Vela's shot from that corner bounced up onto an arm, but Xabi Alonso could do nothing about it and it would have been an incredibly harsh spot kick. Sociedad are on top in these early stages, though.

8 minMatches between these two sides usually yield a bagful of goals, and it is clear to see why even from these early stages. Both teams are very attack-minded and it is quite an open game at moment, despite the lack of chances so far.

9 minHalf a chance for the hosts as Elustondo ghosts into the box, taking Zurutuza's cross in his stride to create space to shoot. Ramos does well to react quickly and block the danger, but there was a hint of an opening for Sociedad there.

11 minIt is a big game for Isco today. He has failed to establish himself as a regular in the first team this season - understandably considering he faces competition from the likes of Bale and Ronaldo - but was superb against Dortmund and a similar performance tonight could see him play a big part in the closing stages of the season.

12 minSpeak of the devil, Isco thinks that he has a chance when Benzema clips the ball out to him in acres of space. He cuts inside and takes too many touches before the linesman's flag robs him of the chance to shoot. That was a bad decision from the official, he was clearly onside.

14 minReally good defending from Inigo Martinez as he stretches a long leg out to hook the ball away from danger, with Benzema looking to race through on goal behind him. Had he not reached that, the French striker would have had a one-on-one.

15 minAt the other end, Benzema shows why he isn't a defender with come suspect play from a free kick. Instead of clearing the ball, he only served to help it on and into a dangerous area before Pepe was able to hack it clear.

16 minDiego Lopez has just made one of the best saves that you will see this season. Griezmann flicked the ball on at the front post and it was turned goalwards from close range, only for Lopez to dive across his goal and make a spectacular stop. The linesman's flag is raised, but Lopez didn't know that. In fact, the flag was wrongly raised once again. Poor again from the officials.

17 minPepe strides out of defence and moves to within 35 yards of goal before shooting. His effort flies well over and wide, and Benzema is not happy with his teammate in the middle. That was a waste.

18 minSOCIEDAD SUB: The hosts are forced into an early change as Jose Angel limps off to be replaced by Ion Ansotegi. That is a blow for Sociedad and will require a reshuffle.

20 minSuperb defending from Inigo Martinez as he covers for the sbent left-back with Bale looking dangerously. The winger moved the ball onto his right foot before drilling a shot across goal towards the bottom corner, but Martinez made a fine sliding block to deny the Welshman.

21 minGonzalez does well in defence this time, recovering from losing the ball in a dangerous position to get back and make a challenge on Carvajal to force a corner.

22 minCLOSE! The hosts are a whisker away from taking the lead! Carlos Vela shapes a lovely cross into the box from deep and Griezmann rises well to flick it towards the far corner. Lopez is at full stretch but well beaten as the header whistles narrowly over. Almost a lovely goal.

24 minSociedad will be delighted with their performance in this match so far. They have been more than a match for the might of Madrid and have come closes through that Griezmann header. The visitors, meanwhile, are yet to carve out a chance and look a little toothless up front without Ronaldo.

26 minMadrid are seeing plenty of the ball and passing it around nicely, but so far they haven't been able to find a way through a well organised and disciplined Sociedad defence.

27 minBale looks to make a trademark burst through the middle before bring brought down by Bergara, who must be nearing a yellow card now. Madrid now have a free kick in a good shooting position, and you can be sure that Bale will fancy it in Ronaldo's absence.

28 minBale does indeed hit it, but it comes back off the wall and Sociedad survive. That was a disappointing effort from Bale, who is capable of at least working the keeper from that range.

30 minWhat a promising opening half an hour it has been for Sociedad. They were the better team in their 3-1 win over Barcelona here in February, and they have been the better team here so far. Can they claim another major scalp?

32 minStill no chances to speak of in terms of a Real Madrid chance as the Sociedad defence remains firm. If they continue to struggle to find a way through, questions must be asked over how much they depend on Ronaldo.

34 minMadrid have a corner that is delivered into a good area by Modric, but Sociedad players are queuing up to clear it before forcing Madrid all the way back to Lopez. The hosts are working extremely hard to limit Madrid's time on the ball here.

36 minBale has moved out onto the left wing now in an attempt to find a way through, and he almost does exactly that with a delicious cross into the box. It was just too high for Benzema, though, and the French striker was in an offside position anyway.

37 minBale is released down the left by a terrific defence-splitting pass, but by the time he looks up for support Sociedad have regrouped and clear his eventual low cross into the box. The visitors are trying to get Bale on the ball more often now.

39 minMadrid could be feeling a bit of fatigue from their midweek exploits in the Champions League as Sociedad have looked half a yard sharper so far. They are winning most of the 50/50 challenges and comfortably dealing with Madrid's attacks.

40 minYELLOW CARD! Xabi Alonso becomes the first player to go into the referee's book for a tackle on Vela, who looked to spin past the midfielder. It was clever use of the body from Vela, who bought that card.

42 minSAVE! Good play from Vela as he bursts forward from midfield and into shooting range. His powerful strike is partially blocked by Illarramendi, which makes it easier for Lopez to collect at his front post. That is the first shot on target of the match.

43 minCHANCE! Decent sight of goal for the hosts as a deep free kick causes problems, with Alonso clearing it from right in front of Lopez. He can only get it as far as Griezmann on the edge of the box, but his shot is well blocked by Illarramendi before going out for a corner.

45 minGOAL! Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid (Asier Illarramendi)

45 minOut of absolutely nothing, Madrid have the lead! It was good play from Benzema as he latched on to a pass before cutting inside and drilling a powerful shot towards goal. Bravo reacts well to make the save, but he parries it straight to Illarramendi, who adjusts quickly to tap the rebound in.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid

7.52pmWhat a cruel end to the half that is for the hosts. They have been the better team in the opening 45 minutes, but Madrid take the lead into the break courtesy of a goal against the run of play in the final minute of the half. It was the first time that the visitors looked like threatening the Sociedad defence, but that clinical nature could prove to be vital.

7.54pmThe goal came from Asier Illarramendi, who found himself in a very advanced position to turn in a rebound from close range against his old club. It was Benzema who had the initial shot, forcing Bravo to parry the ball back into danger with a powerful effort, and Illarramendi was there to tap in. There was no celebration from the midfielder, but it could prove to be a huge goal for Madrid.

7.56pmWith Atletico Madrid and Barcelona both winning earlier, anything less than three points tonight would all but rule Madrid out of the title race. For much of the first half, it did not appear that that would be the case as Madrid struggled to break down the Sociedad defence. However, being able to carve out a win when not at your best is as important to a title challenge as blowing the opposition away.

7.58pmA huge second half awaits both of these teams, with Madrid knowing that this game is far from over. They were second best in the first half and, if Sociedad can repeat that performance after the break, then there is every chance that they can claw their way back into the game. From the hosts' point of view, they are just as in need of a win as Madrid, with their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread as things stand.

8pmDespite Sociedad being the better team, they also struggled to create a clear chance in the first half. The closest they came was through Greizmann's flicked header from a Vela cross that flew narrowly over the bar with Lopez beaten. Vela has also seen another shot comfortably saved, but Arrasate will be keen for his side to create more in the second half and turn their good performance into goals.

46 minKICKOFF: Sociedad get us back underway for the second half as they look to get something from their good performance so far. Madrid, meanwhile, need to hold on to this win if they are to remain in the title race.

48 minYELLOW CARD! Gonzalez picks up a yellow card early in the second half, and he can have no complaints. He came sliding in late on Carvajal and caught the full-back with a poor challenge.

49 minOFF THE BAR! Madrid are inches away from doubling their lead. From the resulting free kick, Ramos rises highest in the area and steers a fabulous header towards the top corner, only to see it come back off the crossbar. So unlucky for Ramos.

50 minYELLOW CARD! Illarramendi goes into the book for a shirt pull on Vela, and it was so blatant and cynical that he can have no complaints.

51 minInteresting free kick routine as Canales clips the ball to Gonzalez at the front of the area, and he flicks the ball on for Inigo Martinez coming in at the back post. However, the flick is just too heavy for his defensive partner and the ball goes behind for a goal kick.

52 minSHOT! Sociedad come forward again as the ball falls to Carlos Martinez around 25 yards from goal. He hits it first time, but it is never going to beat Lopez, who makes a comfortable save.

54 minAnother Madrid corner causes problems as Bale gets his head to the ball, diverting his header downwards and towards the bottom corner. It is never troubling the goal, but almost picks out Benzema for a simple close range finish.

55 minBetter from Madrid now as they come forward down the left flank. Bale picks the ball up and feints a shot before cutting inside onto his right foot. He drills a powerful effort towards the far corner, but Elustondo is there to make a crucial block.

56 minYELLOW CARD! Inigo Martinez picks up a card for a poor challenge on Benzema, who had poked the ball past the defender in a good position. Madrid have a free kick within shooting range here...

57 minSAVE! It is Alonso who goes for it as he attempts to become the second former Sociedad player on the scoresheet tonight. He curls a good effort towards the bottom corner, but Bravo gets down well to make a good save, pushing the ball to safety this time.

59 minGood defending from Carvajal as he makes a crucial block to deny a promising Sociedad block, The ball had been chested down into a good area, but the Madrid right-back snuffed out the danger before the hosts could test Lopez.

60 minBale runs at the defence again before having the door shut on his face with a strong challenge. He appears to be in pain here, and will not be able to be on the pitch when Madrid go for goal from this free kick in a good position. The Welsh winger was sandwiched between two men and has hurt his knee.

62 minBale will be able to continue here as he limps back onto the field. He isn't moving entirely freely, but appears to be one that he can run off.

64 minSOCIEDAD SUB: The hosts make an attacking change as Agirretxe comes on for Zurutuza.

65 minOFF THE BAR! What a superb strike this is from Benzema. He is afforded space to shoot from around 25 yards out and hammers a powerful effort towards the top corner with his left foot. Bravo is well beaten, but it cannons off the bar, hitting almost exactly the same spot as Ramos' effort earlier.

67 minGOAL! Sociedad 0-2 Real Madrid (Gareth Bale)

67 minBale doubles Madrid's lead, but it is a horror show from Bravo. His clearance is poor and goes straight to Bale, who shows great opportunism to hammer it into the bottom corner from range as Bravo fails to recover in time. Bale still had a lot to do, but it was a gift from Bravo.

69 minHow important could that goal prove to be for Madrid? They weren't looking entirely comfortable at 1-0 and any Sociedad goal could have derailed their title bid. Now, though, they have a bit of breathing space and can begin to take things a little more easy.

70 minCLOSE! Benzema is again given space to shoot from outside the area, but this time he drags a rather tame effort a yard or so past the post. Madrid are starting to impose themselves on this game.

71 minYELLOW CARD! Bergara was fortunate to avoid a yellow card in the first half, but there is no chance he is getting away with this one. He pulls Bale's shirt as the winger threatened to race away, and that will also draw a caution.

72 minGreat block from Ansotegi as he throws himself in the way of Isco's effort from the edge of the area. Carvajal created the chance, cutting inside from the right before feeding the ball across to his compatriot.

73 minMadrid are starting to look more like themselves now that they have a two-goal lead. Isco threads a delightful pass inside the full-back for Carvajal to race on to, but his cutback is put behind for a corner.

74 minSOCIEDAD SUB: The hosts make their third and final change of the evening as Ruben Pardo comes on for Gonzalez.

76 minMadrid are in complete control of this match now and it is hard to see any way back for Sociedad. It has been a much improved second half performance from Ancelotti's side and they certainly needed it. Their title challenge appears to still be on track for now at least.

78 minGood defending from Sergio Ramos as he is at full stretch to put a dangerous low cross behind for a corner. Agirretxe was lurking behind him there, so it was important that he got the touch.

80 minAngel di Maria is warming up on the sidelines, which will be a welcome sight for Madrid fans. He has been struggling with injury recently and his return will be a timely boost going into the title run in.

81 minREAL MADRID SUB: Indeed, there is the sub as Di Maria replaces Isco, which means that Bale remains on the pitch despite that brief injury scare earlier.

82 minCarvajal almost puts his side in danger with a poor attempted clearance that gifts the ball straight to Griezmann in a dangerous area. However, the full-back recovers really well to make a vital block on the powerful shot from the French striker.

83 minGriezmann threatens again down the left channel with a shot towards the near post from a tight angle. It is never going to beat the keeper, but it does win the hosts a corner as Lopez is unable to hold on.

85 minGOAL! Sociedad 0-3 Real Madrid (Pepe)

85 minThere is the game for Madrid as Pepe seals the points late on. The two centre-backs combine from the corner as Ramos rises to nod it back across goal for Pepe, who finishes really well with a first-time effort. That is a really smart finish from the Portuguese defender.

87 minMADRID SUB: With the match sewn up, Ancelotti takes that as his cue to withdraw Bale, who makes way for Morata. Bale immediately receives treatment on his leg, with heavy strapping applied.

88 minMADRID SUB: Ancelotti makes a second sub in quick success as Casemiro comes on for Alonso.

88 minGOAL! Sociedad 0-4 Real Madrid (Alvaro Morata)

88 minMadrid add another late on as Di Maria splits the defence with a superb through-ball that Morata shows great pace to race on to. He also shows composure with the finish, taking his time before sliding the ball past the keeper and into the bottom corner. This has been a very impressive second half from Madrid.

90 minYELLOW CARD! Carvajal is the latest player to go into the book, and he can't have any complaints after clearly handling the ball.

90+1 minThere will be a minimum of three minutes added time at the end of this match.

90+3 minSAVE! Di Maria looks to get in on the act late on as he drills an effort towards the bottom corner from range. Bravo is not going to be beaten from that range, though, as he gets down comfortably to make the save.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Real Sociedad 0-4 Real Madrid

8.54pmWow, what a result that is Madrid, who responded to a lacklustre first-half display with a superb performance after the break. Not many would have predicted 4-0 in the 44th minute when the match was still goalless, but in the end it could have been more than that for Madrid. It is a crucial victory for Carlo Ancelotti's side, who remain in contention with Atletico and Barcelona in the closest La Liga title race in years.

8.56pmThe visitors broke the deadlock right on the stroke of half time when Illarramendi bundled a rebound home from close range, giving his current team an undeserved lead against his former team at the break. However, it was all about Madrid in the second half as Bale pounced on an error from Bravo to make it 2-0 before Pepe and Morata scored in the final five minutes to seal the victory.

8.58pmIt could have been even better for Madrid, who rattled the crossbar twice in the second half. The first came from a fine header from Ramos, while Benzema struck almost exactly the same spot with a rasping left-footed effort from range. Sociedad's chances of making the Champions League for a second year in a row appear to be over now, especially is Bilbao win on Monday, but Madrid's title dream is still very much alive.

9pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what was a crucial match in the Primera Division title race as Madrid overcome an uneasy first half to cruise to a 4-0 win over Real Sociedad. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction and analysis, which will be on site shortly. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

Real's Karim Benzema celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal against Barcelona in the La Liga match on March 23, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid11003033
2Barcelona11002023
3Real Sociedad11003213
4EibarEibar11001013
5Leganes11001013
6Levante11001013
7Valencia11001013
8Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
9GironaGirona10102201
10Espanyol10101101
11Sevilla10101101
12Athletic Bilbao10100001
13Getafe10100001
14Celta Vigo100123-10
15AlavesAlaves100101-10
16Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
17Malaga100101-10
18Villarreal100101-10
19Real Betis100102-20
20Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo100103-30