Real Madrid opened their La Liga campaign with a solid away win against Deportivo as goals from Gareth Bale, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos made the difference

Real Madrid continued their winning ways in style as Los Blancos started their La Liga campaign exactly how they ended the last – with a comfortable away win. Keylor Navas maintained a clean sheet as the club put up a commanding performance.

Deportivo fought valiantly against the Spanish champions, but Real were just too strong. Deportivo striker Florin Andone was twice denied early by Navas while Gareth Bale took advantage of their goalkeeper Ruben to tap the opener into an empty net. Before the half hour mark, Casemiro made it 2-0 by knocking home Marcelo’s cross.

Madrid’s third came just after an hour, with Karim Benzema, Isco and Bale combining excellently before Kroos found the net from 15 yards. For Real, the only downer would be the fact that Sergio Ramos picked up his 18th La Liga red card. THT takes a look at the talking points from the match:

Keylor Navas displays pure class

Real Madrid's Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas stops a penalty shot by Deportivo La Coruna's Romanian forward Florin Andone (R) during the Spanish league footbal match RC Deportivo de la Coruna vs Real Madrid CF at the Municipal de Riazor stadium in La Coruna on August 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas stops a penalty shot by Deportivo La Coruna’s Romanian forward Florin Andone (Photo courtesy MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Real keeper is probably the only reason why Deportivo could not get their names on the score-sheet. Navas looked like a wall in front of the goal as he successfully denied Florin Andone twice early on, deflected a penalty from the Romanian striker and completed five saves overall.

The Costa Rican shot-stopper was crucial in the opening 15 minutes, especially since Nacho and Ramos failed to do anything to stop Andone. Keylor was a commanding presence throughout the game and even had some good distribution with his feet. The keeper almost appears to have gained his confidence back after the surgery.

Having said that, Navas’ career graph has been filled with spectacular ups and downs. He seems vulnerable in front of the goal on several occasions, but always manages to rescue his reputation with an inane ability to pull off stellar saves – as he again demonstrated by denying a late penalty from Andone to preserve his clean sheet.

Sergio Ramos sees red for the 18th time in the La Liga

Real Madrid's defender Sergio Ramos is shown a red card by the referee during the Spanish league footbal match RC Deportivo de la Coruna vs Real Madrid CF at the Municipal de Riazor stadium in La Coruna on August 20, 2017. Real Madrid won 3-0. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s defender Sergio Ramos is shown a red card by the referee. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Real Madrid captain just never learns. Ramos was, once again, responsible for an incident that will be talked about for days. He went on to pick his 18th red card in the La Liga, much to the chagrin of fans and his teammates. Madrid were in possession but he refused to kick out the ball, sparking a furious reaction.

The home fans appeared livid – an emotion that was only heightened once Ramos needlessly went on to confront Deportivo defender Fabian Schar, pushing him firmly in the face. Referee Jose Luis Gonzalez was lenient, only deeming the incident worthy of a yellow card as Madrid fans heaved a sigh of relief.

Their relief was short-lived though, as they found out soon enough. Ramos was eventually sent off after an injury time aerial challenge. Arguably, the decision was harsh, but Ramos should have already been dismissed for the earlier incident. The captain needs to set his priorities straight as they get set to defend the La Liga trophy this season.

Zinedine Zidane’s decisions are always his own

TOPSHOT - Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane gestures on the sideline during the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Real Madrid CF at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, on May 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Here to stay! (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

The celebrated manager raised several eyebrows as he decided to start with Gareth Bale over Marco Asensio, even after the latter scored brilliant goals in both legs of their Super Cup triumph over Barcelona. Fans and critics alike were rather shocked considering how poor Bale had performed over the pre-season.

In his defence though, Bale had a four-month injury lay-off and was also strongly linked to a move to Manchester United over the summer. The move did not materialize but he made sure he rewarded the faith of his manager by netting the opening goal of the game.

Granted, that was merely a simple tap-in from two yards, ,but Zidane will feel justified that his decision to leave Asensio out paid off. Bale also teed up Toni Kroos for the third goal. Thus, Zidane has proven to be a manager who picks the team based on his opinion, and not of the public – and that is paying off greatly for Madrid.

Deportivo looked sharper but have a long way to go

LA CORUNA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Celso Borges of RC Deportivo La Coruna competes for the ball with Luka Modric of Real Madrid during the La Liga match between Deportivo La Coruna and Real Madrid at Riazor Stadium on August 20, 2017 in La Coruna, Spain. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Deportivo have a long way to go. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Deportivo looked a lot sharper and stronger than last season as they went on to give Real Madrid’s back-line a ton of trouble. Pepe Mel pulled his team back into a deep block, barring two players — Florin Andone and Zakaria Bakkali. Andone was denied multiple times by Navas but the striker is getting there. Slowly, but surely.

When Deportivo retained possession, typically deep in their own half, the front two provided outlets high-up the pitch. They looked ready to receive a long-pass or two, and get into the space behind Real Madrid’s high line. This caused several problems, and normally the club could have won – had they not been playing Zidane’s men.

Depor were always going to need a lot more against a historically great Real Madrid team filled with new-age Galacticos, who have proven that they can win against any side on any given day. However, the performance will be an encouraging boost for their other matches this season.

Madrid miss Pepe

Set for a new challenge in Paris? (Photo courtesy - Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Although Nacho partnered Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Madrid defence, the back line hardly looked strong as Andone could penetrate easily on several occasions throughout the match. Raphael Varane was given the night off following a grueling start to the campaign that involved four pre-season games, but it is clear that Madrid miss Pepe.

The surprising ease with which Andone got free in the first 10 minutes raised several questions over Madrid’s depth at centre-back. Pepe was allowed to leave on a free transfer in the summer, following which, Madrid called the talented but inexperienced 20-year-old Jesus Vallejo from a loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt to fill his absence.

If Vallejo and Nacho don’t pull up their socks anytime soon, the famed Real Madrid side might be in for some nasty shocks this season. Defending the La Liga and Champions League trophies certainly won’t be an easy affair, hence making it vital that the duo improve their performances, else a huge burden will be placed on Ramos.

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