Sports, Football

Benzema, Rodrygo goals saw the Santiago Bernabéu pay tribute to Vini Jr.

Published : 25 May 2023 08:10 PM

Benzama and Rodrygo struck a piece as Real Madrid got the better of Rayo Vallecano at the Santiago Bernabéu in a fixture which saw a fantastic show of support for Vini Jr. in light of the continuous abuse being suffered by the player over the course of the season. 

Benzema’s strike following some fine link-up play with Valverde, and another for Rodrygo in the 89th minute, handed all three points to our team in the LaLiga matchday 36 encounter.

The first half, during which the fans dedicated a standing ovation to Vini Jr. in the 20th minute (his shirt number), was an end-to-end affair. 

The only real attempts prior to the opener by the current Ballon d'Or holder were long-range efforts from Oscar Valentín and Unai Lopez on 5’ and 12’ for Rayo, while Camavinga also tried his luck on 28 minutes. 

That was a warning ahead of Karim Benzema having the ball in the back of the net. The Frenchman combined well with Valverde with 31 minutes on the clock to race through against Dimitrievski, beating the goalkeeper with a delightful feint, before stroking home with his right foot.

Half-time came around with the score at 1-0, and the first chance following the restart also fell to Ancelotti’s team on 56’. 

Modric played a gorgeous pass to the back stick with the outside of his boot and Carvajal’s first-time strike flew just over the bar. The minutes ticked by and our team's dominance grew as they looked to extend their lead. 

That was until Rayo had the game level when a powerful R.D.T. strike fired through the legs of Tchouameni and caught Courtois off guard with 83 minutes gone.

Both sides went in search of a winning goal, which would go the way of Real Madrid thanks to Rodrygo’s tidy right-footed finish from the edge of the box in the 89th minute. Ceballos then struck a lovely volley which could have made it three in injury time, but Dimitrievski did superbly to keep it out. 

It was the first time Madrid have played since the abuse occurred and many sports stars and other significant figures across the world have offered Vinicius their support.

Supporters chanted his name after 20 minutes and a banner in one stand read “We are all Vinicius, enough already!”

“I think everyone in football, not just in football, in all of sport, the whole world, (is reacting to) these actions, they should not be allowed,” Madrid defender Dani Carvajal told Movistar after the game.

“We have to all improve, try to make this not happen, because in the end it's not fair.”

Benzema broke the deadlock by taking the ball around the goalkeeper after Fede Valverde played him through.

Madrid created few further notable chances in a drab performance, with Carlo Ancelotti's side without a clear goal in the final weeks of the season.

Rayo struck back through De Tomas, and the former Real Madrid youth player did not celebrate his goal.

Rodrygo steered home well from the edge of the box to ensure Madrid had the last laugh and brought Vinicius back into focus with his celebration.

“He's doing well, all the support he has received in the last days is good for him,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“If he didn’t have the knee problem he would have played, certainly. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow and Friday to see if we play him on Saturday.’

Ancelotti said he did not see Rodrygo’s celebration.

“I didn’t see the gesture, but all the players are close to Vini, they feel this issue, he’s very affected in this sense.

‘They are very good friends, it’s been a bit tough for Vini everything that has happened, and it was to show his closeness to a team-mate.”