Real Madrid stars Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema injured in Sporting Gijon rout
Gareth Bale's seventh-minute opener paved the way for Real Madrid to hit five goals for the second consecutive week as they brushed aside Sporting Gijon 5-1 on Sunday, though the Wales star and Karim Benzema both departed due to injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema also each hit a brace in a first-half goal glut before Gijon managed to stem the embarrassment and grabbed a second-half consolation through Isma Lopez.
The win brought an end to a tumultuous week for Zinedine Zidane's men, who were hit with a long-term transfer embargo by FIFA for alleged financial irregularities.
Bale needed only seven minutes to ease the gloom at the Bernabeu and build on last week's hat trick against Deportivo La Coruna as he headed home at the far post from a corner.
And struggling Gijon were effectively consigned to their fourth straight league loss just two minutes later when Ronaldo produced a neat turn in the box to beat Gijon keeper Pichu Cuellar.
When Benzema latched onto a precise Bale cross to slam home his side's third with just 12 minutes on the clock, memories no doubt returned to Real's recent 10-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano.
And Ronaldo did nothing to dampen thoughts of another record-breaking victory when he grabbed his second in the 18th minute after sweeping home from a neat cross by Daniel Carvajal.
Stunned by the seemingly relentless onslaught by the hosts, Gijon took time to stir but showed the first signs of settling when striker Jony brought a pair of good saves out of Real keeper Keylor Navas.
But on 24 minutes Benzema came close to adding his second and Madrid's fifth when Ronaldo finished a swift counter-attack by crossing for the striker, who stumbled as he shaped to shoot.
Ronaldo then missed a chance to complete his hat trick as he was denied by Gijon keeper Cuellar when clean through, before Jorge Mere cleared the danger.
The home side were simply relentless, marshalled by Ronaldo and the brilliant Carvajal, and a fifth goal seemed a matter of time as Bale set up a fine chance for Isco in the centre.
That goal duly arrived four minutes from half-time when Isco turned provider, lofting a lovely through-ball to Benzema who made no mistake as he fired past Cuellar for his second goal of the game.
Double figures looked a good bet but the hosts lost Bale at half-time due to a hamstring injury and that stalled their momentum, with Ronaldo missing the best of the early chances to increase their lead in the second half.
James Rodriguez arrived for Madrid on the hour mark and almost immediately missed a chance to make an early impression before Gijon's improved performance brought some reward when Lopes fired home after good work by Jony.
The loss of Benzema, struggling after a bad tackle, further affected the home side's momentum although he could have made it six -- and completed his hat trick in the process -- when he brought a 75th-minute save out of Cuellar.