VINICIUS JR was the captain of Real Madrid, as the La Liga giants beat Elche on Saturday.
The Brazilian star scored twice. Filling the void left by Karim Benzema rested, as the narrow win helped move Los Blancos to the top of La Liga, at least until tomorrow’s Basque derby between Real Sociedad against Athletic Bilbao.
The talented young man was the talisman.
Vinicius opened the scoring with a goal in the 22nd minute. After Elche midfielder Raul Guti was sent off for the second booking, the Brazilian winger put the score without a doubt in the 73rd minute.
Elche substitute Perry Milla closed the gap by four men to put an end to a tense finish.
But it was the 21-year-old who was set to prove the winner of the match – once again showing a huge improvement in the finishing touches.
The double raised his tally in all competitions to nine in 14 games this season, compared to six goals in 47 games last season.
Carlo Ancelotti rested Benzema ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
Their only win in their previous four league matches came last weekend when they beat Barcelona 2-1.
Mariano Diaz played his first minutes of the season in place of Benzema. The rarely used striker showed that his reflexes were still sharp when he used his heel to fire a pass from Casemiro to Vinicius’ road to fire under Kiko Casella.
Elche almost equalized thanks to Lucas Pouille. The striker stole the ball from David Alaba in the penalty area, but Lucas Perez missed a back-heeled pass by Javier Pastore that left him alone with only Thibaut Courtois to defeat.
Elche pressed for an equaliser, but was hit hard when Guti’s dangerous tackle on Toni Kroos sent him off in the 63rd minute.
Vinicius Elche finished when he hit the ball over Casilla from a tight angle after Luka Modric’s through pass.
Milla scored against the flow of play when Casemiro’s pass was intercepted near his own area, leaving the striker alone to defeat Courtois.
Free Bets: Get over £2000 on new customer deals
Real Madrid lost striker Rodrygo in the first minutes of what appeared to be a leg injury, which will make him sweat next season before their decisive encounter in the Champions League.
Later, Barcelona will play their first match since the sacking of Ronald Koeman when interim coach Serge Barguan leads the team against Alaves at the Camp Nou.
Whereas, Sevilla could equal Real Madrid and Sociedad if they beat Osasuna.
On Sunday, Real Betis could also be level with Real Madrid and Sociedad if they beat Atletico Madrid.
⚽ Read Live Football News Blog For the latest rumors, gossip and completed deals