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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Vinicius Jr scores brace to help Real Madrid fight back from two goals down to earn 2-2 draw

23-year-old Brazilian stared defiantly at Mestalla crowd several times, with local fans jeering and whistling his every touch of ball

Reuters Valencia Published 04.03.24, 10:46 AM
Vinicius Junior scores Real Madrid’s second goal during the La Liga match against Valencia in Valencia on Saturday

Vinicius Junior scores Real Madrid’s second goal during the La Liga match against Valencia in Valencia on Saturday Getty Images

Vinicius Jr scored a brace to help Real Madrid fight back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at Valencia in an ill-tempered La Liga clash on Saturday, as the Brazil winger returned to a stadium where he was racially abused last year.

The 23-year-old Brazilian stared defiantly at the Mestalla crowd several times, with the local fans jeering and whistling his every touch of the ball.

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Real looked to be in control early on before Valencia won the ball back in midfield and quickly started a counter-attack, which ended in a Hugo Duro header that gave the hosts the lead in the 27th minute. Valencia grew in confidence and their high pressure led to a bad mistake from Real defender Dani Carvajal that gifted the ball to Roman Yaremchuk who burst past the goalkeeper before firing into the net to extend their lead three minutes later.

However, Vinicius reduced the deficit with a close-range finish in first-half stoppage time, meeting a low cross by Carvajal before celebrating with his fist raised in the air in front of Valencia’s supporters.

Real slowly started to take control of the game after halftime, with Vinicius and England midfielder Jude Bellingham threatening.

Both had great chances before Vinicius found the equaliser with a towering header in the 76th minute, meeting a cross by substitute Brahim Diaz and celebrating by putting his hands behind his ears.

Valencia thought they were awarded a penalty in stoppage time but the referee changed his mind after a VAR review showed there was no foul by Real defender Fran Garcia on Duro.

Bellingham then thought he had scored the winner with a close-range header, only to discover referee Jesus Gil Manzano had blown the fulltime whistle just before Luka Modric had crossed the ball.

A disgruntled Bellingham went to the referee to complain and was shown a straight red card. “We’re not happy with Bellingham’s red card. He just told the referee ‘it’s a f***ing goal’. He didn’t insult the ref,” Real manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

Real moved to 66 points in the standings, seven points ahead of second-placed Girona who have a game in hand. Barcelona are third on 57 points.

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