the break and Bale
made it three just after the hour mark when he steered home
Marcelo's cross on his weaker right foot.
And the 24-year-old was left with the easiest of finishes
to round off a perfect hat-trick when he turned home Marcelo's low cross with his left foot.
Earlier, Atletico moved level on points with Barcelona at
the top of the table after goals from Koke and Diego Costa
gave them a hard-fought 2-0 win at Elche.
After a first-half devoid of clear-cut scoring
opportunities, Atletico took the lead on 63 minutes when Koke
bundled home from close range when Manuel Herrera could only parry Raul Garcia's shot from distance.
Costa had endured a quiet afternoon by his standards but
he doubled the advantage 11 minutes later as he raced onto
Adrian Lopez's through ball before slotting home his 18th goal
of the season.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone had recalled six first-team
regulars rested for Tuesday's 1-1 draw away to Zenit St
Petersburg in the Europa League.
However, he recognised that it wasn't until the introduction of Garcia and Adrian in the second-half that Atletico began to take control.
"It is a very important victory against a very difficult
opponent," he said.
"We started well in the first-half but then Elche had two
or three dangerous counter-attacks.
"At half-time we talked and saw that we needed to use the
wings more. The introduction of Raul Garcia and Adrian gave usthe creativity we needed in the tightest moments of the game."