Real Madrid secured a 2-1 victory against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, with Rodrygo scoring a late winner and dedicating his goal celebration to his teammate Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius had recently been the target of racist abuse during a match against Valencia and was absent from the game due to a knee injury. In a show of solidarity, the Madrid players wore Vinicius' number 20 shirt during the pre-match lineup.
The abuse faced by Vinicius has garnered widespread condemnation, with many sports stars and influential figures expressing their support for him.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Madrid in the first half after being set up by Fede Valverde. However, Raul de Tomas equalised for Rayo, refraining from celebrating against his former club. In the dying moments of the game, Rodrygo found the back of the net with a powerful strike, securing the victory for Madrid. He marked his goal celebration by raising his fist in a gesture inspired by the "Black Power" salute.
Vinicius' absence was keenly felt by the team, and his teammates demonstrated their solidarity and support throughout the match. The fans also rallied behind Vinicius, displaying a banner proclaiming, "We are all Vinicius, enough already!"
The incidents of racism faced by Vinicius have sparked discussions about the need for collective efforts to eradicate such behavior from sports and society as a whole.
Real Madrid's victory keeps them in contention for second place in the league, while Rayo Vallecano put up a spirited performance but fell short in the end. Vinicius' recovery from his knee issue will determine his availability for future matches. Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged Vinicius' positive response to the support he has received and expressed hope for his swift return to the field.
In other La Liga action, Villarreal maintained their slim chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Cadiz. They reduced the gap with Real Sociedad to five points.
Later in the week, Espanyol, fighting to avoid relegation, hosted Atletico Madrid, who had the opportunity to overtake their city rivals and reclaim second place in the league standings.
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