Vinicius Jr Rescues Real Madrid from the Brink to Draw with Valencia

Vinicius Junior responded to a hostile reception from Valencia fans with a brace to rescue Real Madrid with a 2-2 draw at Estadio Mestalla in a game that ended with referee controversy.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side had a golden opportunity to go nine points clear of second-place Girona as the title race begins to reach its climax, but Real Madrid may live to rue their lackluster first-half performance if their title rivals win their game in hand.

Hugo Duro put the hosts in front on 27 minutes after heading home from a Fran Perez ball into the box, with Valencia looking dangerous on the counter.

And only three minutes later, Los Che doubled their lead. Roman Yaremchuk stunned the visitors after pouncing on a miscommunication between Dani Carvajal and Andriy Lunin, tapping home into the empty net to leave his compatriot looking red-faced.

But right on the stroke of halftime, Real Madrid clawed their way back into the contest – and it simply had to be Vinicius Junior to score the goal. After boos and jeers every t
ime he received the ball, he stepped up to bring the leaders back from the brink, the Spanish MARCA newspaper reported.

The Brazilian, back at the Mestalla a year after accusing fans of allegedly racially abusing him, had the last laugh with a goal in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time, bundling home at the far post.

Both goalkeepers were forced to make decent stops, with Lunin keeping out Duro this time with a smart stop and Giorgi Marmardashvili denying Jude Bellingham a goal on his return to the team.

Ancelotti sent on Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric in search of an equalizer midway through the second half, and the pair would repay their boss by having a part to play in the equalizing goal.

Modric and Brahim combined in the build-up before the latter sent in a cross to the far post. Unmarked, Vinicius met the delivery with a header into the ground to bring the score level to 2-2. A brief VAR check deemed that he was onside when the ball was played and the comeback was complete.

The game didn’t e
nd without some controversy as Real Madrid were handed a corner in the closing stages. Just when Bellingham headed the ball into the back of the net, the goal was ruled off.

While unclear at first, the goal was called back after the referee had already blown the whistle as the ball crossed the line, much to the anger of Real Madrid.

It means Real Madrid have still only tasted defeat once in the Spanish LaLiga this season, although they now face an anxious wait to see if their advantage will be cut to four points, with Girona travelling to Mallorca and Barcelona facing a tough test against Athletic Club today.

Source: Oman News Agency