Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Spain

Vinicius Junior © Gallo Images

Real boss gets first Liga win, Barca in late show



Santiago Solari tasted victory in his first La Liga match in charge of Real Madrid but he had 18-year-old Vinicius Junior to thank for their 2-0 win over Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Solari threw Vinicius on with the score goalless and tension building at the Santiago Bernabeu but the striker delivered, before Sergio Ramos' late penalty gave the scoreline a deceptively comfortable look.

Madrid's day might have been even better had Rayo Vallecano seen out the 2-1 lead they enjoyed over Barcelona with four minutes left at Vallecas.

Instead, Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez scored for Barca in the 87th and 89th minutes to pull off a remarkable comeback.

This video is not available in your region

It means Ernesto Valverde's side sit four points clear at the top of La Liga, seven ahead of Real and now four up on Atletico Madrid, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Leganes.

For Real and Solari, victory was all-important. Their opener in the 83rd minute was an own-goal, deflected off Kiko Olivas, but prompted by Vinicius' weaving run and shot, the kind of exuberance Madrid's toothless attack has been so bereft of in recent weeks.

Vinicius celebrated by running over to the bench and hugging Solari. He knows the youngster better than anyone at the club, having managed him with Castilla this season.

Previous coach Julen Lopetegui had, understandably, decided Madrid's B team was the best place for Vinicius to settle but with every chance missed, the youngster's reputation has swelled.

The 40 million-euro signing from Flamengo started as Madrid thrashed Melilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday but those were opponents from the Spanish third tier. This was Solari's first proper test.

Lopetegui had repeatedly bemoaned a lack of luck too during his bad run and even that appeared to turn in Solari's favour. Vinicius' shot cannoned in off Olivas between Valladolid twice hitting the crossbar and Karim Benzema winning a dubious late penalty.

"When the ball won't go in you have to keep calm," Ramos said. "You have to ignore the uncertainty that is created. Finally, we have a positive result for our confidence."

There were whistles at half-time from the home crowd, and during the second half as well, but cheers, perhaps of relief, at the end.

Gareth Bale was not on the pitch to hear them after he had been replaced in the 71st minute with the team still searching for a goal.

'NOT A BUNCH OF KIDS'

Madrid, however, head into Wednesday's Champions League game against Viktoria Plzen with their first win in six league games, as well as their own confidence boosted and their coach's momentum enhanced.

"This is an experienced group, not a bunch of kids," Solari said. "They have found themselves too."

Madrid might have held little hope of reducing the gap on Barcelona this weekend but Rayo Vallecano came within a whisker of doing them a favour.

Jose Angel Pozo cancelled out Luis Suarez's opener with a bending shot inside the post and then Alvaro Garcia put the home side ahead, tapping in from a yard within a minute of coming on as a substitute.

Rayo's fans believed but so did Barca, and when Dembele, also on off the bench, curved his shot inside the post with three minutes left, there was still time for a winner.

Suarez grabbed it, pouncing for his sixth goal in four games, a brilliant run of form and just at the right time in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi.

Earlier, Antoine Griezmann scored a sumptuous free-kick but Atletico Madrid missed the chance to go top after drawing 1-1 at struggling Leganes.

Griezmann's bending effort in the second half looked likely to prove the difference in a contest short on chances at Butarque but Guido Carrillo's 82nd-minute equaliser earned Leganes a deserved point.

Atletico could have moved above Barcelona, for a few hours at least, but instead Diego Simeone's side sit a point behind the league leaders, who face Rayo Vallecano later on Saturday. Leganes remain 18th and without a win in five matches.

"We played for more and wanted more but have to settle for a point," Simeone said.

"The feeling is bitter-sweet," added Saul Niguez. "We know it is in these matches where the league is decided. Leganes played a great first half but we have to be more ambitious and should have won."



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming