Vinicius and Rodrygo help Madrid dismantle sorry Valencia

Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes struck twice each as Real Madrid thrashed Valencia 5-1 on Saturday to stay hot on the heels of shock La Liga leaders Girona.

Dani Carvajal opened the scoring for Los Blancos before the Brazilian duo took the reins as they romped to victory, to trail Girona by two points after they won at Rayo Vallecano.

Madrid were without key player Jude Bellingham, watching on from a box at the Santiago Bernabeu alongside his mother after he suffered a shoulder injury last weekend from which he has not fully recovered.

Vinicius, who toyed with Valencia’s defence, was facing them for the first time since he was racially abused in the east coast club’s stadium in May, sparking worldwide outrage.

Rodrygo set up his Brazilian compatriot’s goals before scoring two himself on a superb night for a duo who had struggled for form until this week.

“Now we are in our best moment (of the season),” Rodrygo told Real Madrid TV.

“We are back to being the Rodry and Vini that the fans want to see… if they are happy then I am happy too.”

Real Madrid huffed and puffed without being able to blow neighbours Rayo’s house down in a frustrating goalless draw last weekend, and Bellingham’s absence increased worries about their attacking prowess.

The England international is the division’s top scorer with 10 goals and has been Madrid’s most decisive star this season to date.

However Carvajal quickly blew any doubts out of the water with a superb left-foot strike from outside the area in the third minute.

The Spain full-back controlled Toni Kroos’ long ball and walloped a strike in at the near post.

David Alaba sent a free-kick narrowly over and Kroos struck the crossbar with another as Madrid looked to press home their advantage, with Valencia shaking.

Andriy Lunin, starting in goal again for Madrid after Kepa Arrizabalaga joined Thibaut Courtois on the sidelines, further built on his excellent Champions League display against Braga.

The Ukrainian stopper denied Valencia forward Hugo Duro brilliantly with his leg after a clever turn in the box, and then saved from the striker again as he bore down on goal.

Duro fired the second chance straight at Lunin, and soon came to rue his profligacy.

– Brazilian braces –

Vinicius extended Real Madrid’s lead with a unique strike, diving to chest the ball home after Rodrygo fizzed a low cross into the box for him.

The Brazilian celebrated by pointing to the Madrid badge, as if to observe that he had managed to score with the club crest.

Vinicius’ night improved further still early in the second half when he drove forward and picked his spot from outside the box, beating Giorgi Mamardashvili at the near post.

Valencia’s Georgian goalkeeper erred badly almost immediately after to hand Madrid their fourth on a plate, passing the ball straight to Rodrygo.

The Brazilian stroked the ball into the bottom corner to keep expanding his team’s advantage and repaying Carlo Ancelotti for his faith.

Rodrygo hailed the Italian coach in midweek after scoring against Braga because of his support, and both he and Vinicius stepped up again in Bellingham’s absence.

Ancelotti said earlier this week he believed Vinicius and Rodrygo would outscore Bellingham by the end of the season and they immediately set about proving him true.

Madrid’s fifth arrived with a few minutes remaining when Rodrygo jinked into the area and finished well to round off Madrid’s win, although Duro was finally able to pull one back for Valencia at the third time of asking.

“We leave here fuming,” Valencia midfielder Fran Perez told DAZN.

“In my opinion, it’s too big of a scoreline considering how the game was.”



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