Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Rodrygo scores late as Real Madrid beats Rayo amid tributes to Vinícius Jr

Rodrygo scored an 89th-minute winner as Real Madrid defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in a Spanish league match marked by tributes to Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior.
It was Madrid’s first game since the latest case of racial abuse against Vinícius, who considered leaving the field Sunday after being insulted by Valencia fans.
Rodrygo celebrated on Wednesday by raising his right fist above his head in a stance against racism. He dedicated the goal to his Brazil teammate.
“We’ve gone through a lot together because we both left Brazil at a very young age,” Rodrygo said. “We came to this great club and won everything, and it’s very sad to have to go through this situation. I wanted to salute Vini, he knows that I’m always by his side. We will keep fighting against racism.”
Madrid’s players came to the field wearing Vinícius’ No. 20 jersey, and a huge banner was displayed behind one of the goals with the words “We are all Vinicius. Enough is enough.”
Vinicius did not play because of a minor knee problem. Wearing street clothes, he came out briefly before the match to salute the fans and his teammates.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the 31st, with the visitors equalizing with Raúl de Tomás in the 84th.
The victory moved Madrid to second place ahead of Atletico Madrid, which drew 3-3 at Espanyol. Madrid hadn’t won in two matches in all competitions, having been eliminated by Manchester City in the semifinals of the Champions League.
Rayo, which has lost three in a row, stayed in 11th place.


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