Thursday, May 25, 2023
Real Madrid secured a 2-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, with Rodrygo scoring the winning goal and dedicating his celebration to his teammate Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius had suffered racist abuse during the match against Valencia and was unable to play due to a knee injury. In a show of solidarity, the Madrid players wore Vinicius' number 20 shirt before the game. The support for Vinicius was evident throughout the match, with fans chanting his name and displaying banners in his honor.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Madrid in the first half, rounding the goalkeeper after being set up by Fede Valverde. However, Raul de Tomas equalized for Rayo in the closing minutes of the game. It was Rodrygo who sealed the victory for Madrid with a powerful strike in the 89th minute. In his celebration, he raised his fist in a "Black Power" salute, highlighting the unity and support for Vinicius.
The match was overshadowed by the racist abuse suffered by Vinicius, and it brought attention to the issue of racism in football and beyond. Madrid defender Dani Carvajal expressed his disapproval of such actions, emphasizing the need for improvement and fairness in the sport. The support Vinicius received from his teammates, fans, and the wider sporting community was seen as a positive response to combat racism.
Real Madrid's win temporarily propelled them into second place in the league standings. The victory kept their hopes alive for Champions League qualification. Meanwhile, Villarreal also boosted their chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Cadiz, closing the gap on Real Sociedad. In another match, relegation-threatened Espanyol hosted Atletico Madrid, who had the opportunity to overtake their city rivals and regain second place in the league.
Vinicius Junior's absence on the field did not dampen the support he received from his teammates and fans. The victory against Rayo Vallecano highlighted the unity and solidarity within the team, emphasizing the need to address and eliminate racism from the sport.