Zidane: Bale was phenomenal in Real Madrid fightback
Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale scores during the Spanish league football match Rayo Vallecano de Madrid vs Real Madrid CF at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid on April 23, 2016. CURTO DE LA TORRE / AFP
Rayo led 2-0 after 14 minutes at Vallecas thanks to goals from Adrian Embarba and Miku, but Bale, making his return from a back problem, halved the deficit 10 minutes before half-time with a header.
With Madrid missing Cristiano Ronaldo, they suffered a further blow when Karim Benzema came off with an apparent knee injury, yet Zidane's men were still able to complete the comeback.
Benzema's replacement, Lucas Vazquez, levelled matters in the 52nd minute, with Bale pouncing on a stray pass to fire home the winner nine minutes from time and pile the pressure on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the Liga title race.
Bale's performance comes as a welcome boost ahead of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg with Manchester City.
Zidane said: "I am very happy and he is very happy to make a difference. He did great. Physically he's fine. Beyond the two goals he has done a very good job in attack and defense.
"It is very important for him and for the team. He has had some discomfort but has been phenomenal in this game.
"It is not easy what we have done. We have shown that after conceding goals we can turn the game around. They have had the patience to make a difference and then we know we have quality players that make a difference.
"Occasionally you have to have that patience when things do not go well.
"We have struggled and we have overcome. This match is good before City. Now it is another battle. A totally different game. We're going to prepare well."