Vinicius double inspires Real Madrid against 10-man Elche

Brilliant Brazilian grabs both goals as Benzema is rested by Spanish giants

Vinicius Junior's sensational start to the season continued as he scored twice in Real Madrid's 2-1 victory over Elche to ensure the rested Karim Benzema was not missed.

Vinícius opened the scoring with a 22nd-minute strike and after Elche midfielder Raul Guti was sent off for a second booking, the Brazilian winger put the result beyond doubt in the 73rd minute.

Elche substitute Pere Milla pulled one back with four minutes to play, but it was not enough to retain their unbeaten home record this season.

"We were very practical," said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti. "After only two days rest it's not possible to play with intensity and energy. We played with a low block and tried to find opportunities. Fortunately we got the three points."

The 21-year-old Vinicius once again showed his much-improved finishing. The double took his tally in all competitions to nine in 14 appearances this season, compared to six goals in 47 outings in 2020-21.

“This is thanks to the work I have been putting in since I arrived,” said Vinicius, who made his debut for Real aged 18 after the club had secured his transfer from Brazil's Flamengo when he was 16.

Benzema's resurgence for France means Madrid no longer have their chief goalscorer all to themselves and after 17 games played already this term, Ancelotti opted to leave the striker at home.

It meant a surprise start for Mariano Diaz but it was Vinicius who filled the void. The Brazilian has long been circled as one of Real's most exciting talents but he has found a different level under Ancelotti.

"I haven't done anything," Ancelotti said. "I just try to give him confidence. I am not a magician."

Elche came in 15th and unbeaten at the Martinez Valero this season and started well, with Lucas Boye lashing an early shot at Thibaut Courtois.

At the other end, Rodrygo ballooned over after a Madrid counter-attack and that was his last contribution before going off injured after 17 minutes, replaced by Marco Asensio.

Vinicius gave Madrid the lead shortly after and it came from a Johan Mojica mistake at left-back as his loose pass was punched forward first-time by Casemiro into Mariano, who backheelded behind him into the path of Vinicius.

Vinicius took one touch into the area and clipped a left-footed finish into the far corner.

Elche should have levelled but Lucas Perez skewed wide after a clever flick by Boye and they pushed again early in the second half.

Guti had the best chance but side-footed straight at Courtois and as the goalkeeper tossed the ball out to Toni Kroos, Guti flew into the German, his sliding challenge earning him a second yellow card.

A man up with half an hour left, Madrid regained control and added a superb second. It started with a slick combination between their midfield three as Casemiro laid off for Kroos, who steered a superb pass through Elche's midfield to Luka Modric.

Modric slid through Vinicius, who drew out the goalkeeper just enough before scooping it over him and into the net.

Updated: October 30th 2021, 3:39 PM
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