Rodrygo’s tribute for Vinicius as Madrid beats Rayo 2-1 in La Liga clash

Real Madrid player standing wearing Vincius Junior’s number 20 shirt. Twitter/Real Madrid

Real Madrid won 2-1 against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, with Rodrygo scoring the winning goal and naming his teammate Vinicius Jr.

Venicius suffered racist abuse during a match against Valencia and was unable to play due to a knee injury. In a show of solidarity, Madrid players wore Vinicius’ number 20 shirt before the game. Support for Vinicius was evident throughout the match, with fans chanting his name and displaying banners in his honour.

Real Madrid's Rodrigo pays tribute to his teammate Vinicius Junior after scoring a goal.
Real Madrid’s Rodrigo pays tribute to teammate Vinicius Junior after scoring.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Madrid in the first half, beating the goalkeeper after a set-up by Fede Valverde. However, Raul de Tomas equalized for Rio in the dying minutes of the game. It was Rodrigo who sealed Madrid’s victory with a powerful strike in the 89th minute. In his celebration, he raised his fist in a “black power” salute, highlighting unity and support for Vinicius.

The match was overshadowed by racist abuse from Vinicius, and brought attention to the issue of racism in football and beyond. Madrid defender Dani Carvajal expressed his displeasure at such measures, stressing the need for improvement and fairness in the game. The support Vinicius received from his teammates, fans and the wider sporting community was seen as a positive response to tackling racism.

Real Madrid’s win moved them temporarily into second place in the league standings. The victory kept their hopes of Champions League qualification alive. Meanwhile, Villarreal also boosted their chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Cadiz, closing the gap on Real Sociedad. In another match, relegation-threatened Espanyol allowed hosts Atletico Madrid to overtake their city rivals to reclaim second place in the league.

Vinicius Jr.’s absence from the field did not diminish the support he received from his teammates and fans. The victory against Rayo Vallecano highlighted the unity and solidarity within the team, emphasizing the need to remove and eliminate racism from the game.

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