He was missing due to a minor knee injury, but Vinicius Jr. (22) was the big man in Real Madrid – Rayo Vallecano (2-1). After the racism storm of Sunday in Valencia, the Royal expressed its support for the Brazilian striker. Another Brazilian, Rodrygo, gave Real the victory. Thibaut Courtois was between the posts for the entire match.
Before the match, Vinicius made a brief appearance on the field, while his teammates all wore t-shirts with his name and number 20 on it. The supporters also encouraged Vinicius, who was heavily tackled in the Mestalla. They unpacked with banners that left little to the imagination: ‘Racists from football’ and ‘We are all Vinicius’. ‘Vini’ was chanted several times and the fans clapped their hands en masse during minute 20, when the player briefly stood up and waved in thanks. (continue reading below the photos)
After his winner, Rodrygo conspicuously raised his fist, a gesture that Brazilian FC Barcelona striker Raphina also did on Monday when he was replaced in Valladolid.
The Spanish national title had already started flying, but Real Madrid was still involved in a battle with city rivals Atlético for second place. In that respect, it was better to win at home against Vallecano, especially after the loss at Valencia last Sunday.
Real made little impression in the first half, but went to rest with a lead. Karim Benzema made it 1-0 after half an hour after the home team quickly resumed play after a referee’s ball. Vallecano was furious, but the Real party – rightly so, by the way – continued.
The Royal seemed to be on its way to an economical victory, until Raúl De Tomás made it 1-1 five minutes before the end of regular time. Fortunately for Real, Rodrygo was able to avert another loss of points a handful of minutes later.
In the standings, Real is now only second, with one point more than Atlético. Simeone’s team quickly put together a 0-3 lead thanks to goals from Saul, Griezmann and Red Devil Carrasco. But after goals from Montes, Joselu (p) and Vinicius, last season at KV Mechelen, it was still 3-3. Carrasco was replaced in minute 88, Witsel played the entire game in defense.
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