Vinicius and Rodrygo 'back to their best' after leading Real Madrid rout of Valencia

Brazilians combine to score four goals in the 5-1 La Liga victory at Santiago Bernabeu

Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo scored two goals each in Real Madrid's 5-1 win over Valencia. EPA
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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo are "back to their best" after the Brazilian duo starred in Saturday's 5-1 La Liga win over Valencia.

Madrid opened the scoring in the third minute, as full-back Dani Carvajal unleashed a half-volley from the edge of the box after lifting the ball over Valencia defender Jose Gaya with a brilliant first touch.

Toni Kroos sent a freekick off the crossbar shortly after but, despite the hosts' early dominance, Valencia’s Hugo Duro had two great chances to score in the space of a few minutes that goalkeeper Andriy Lunin denied with fine saves from close range.

However, Vinicius and Rodrygo were a constant threat to Valencia’s defence, creating several chances before finally working together to extend Madrid's lead in the 42nd minute.

Rodrygo burst down the right touchline and crossed low to Vinicius who launched himself towards the ball to score with his shoulder in a fabulous diving effort.

In his first game against Valencia after being a victim of racist abuse by some of their fans in May, Vinicius struck again shortly after halftime, striking a clinical curling shot from the edge of the box.

Rodrygo extended Madrid's lead one minute later, tapping in from close range after intercepting a poor touch from goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.

Rodrygo put the gloss on the scoreline with a fine individual effort in the 84th minute, dribbling past two defenders before netting a tidy finish to the goalkeeper's left.

Striker Hugo Duro scored Valencia's consolation goal two minutes from time with a strike from close range.

"We could have defended better in the first 15 minutes, but after that the game was perfect," Ancelotti said.

Most pleasing for the Italian manager was the continued return to goalscoring form of Vinicius and Rodrygo. After coming in for some mild criticism for their lack of goals so far this season - with Jude Bellingham taking on much of the responsibility - the Brazilians followed their Champions League goals against Braga with two each against Valencia.

"Vinicius and Rodrygo are back to their best," Ancelotti said. "They needed time to get back to their best and show their quality. In the last two games they've done very well. They combined well, looked for space and played with exceptional quality. You can say they are back."

Bellingham, so impressive since his summer move from Borussia Dortmund, was absent from the squad as the England midfielder continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

Ancelotti said the 20-year-old's injury means he should be withdrawn from the England squad but expects him to be back in contention after the international break.

"Bellingham is going to England to be assessed, but he'll be back soon. If he can't play today, he can't play for them," Ancelotti said. "He needs to do some specific work over the next few weeks to strengthen his shoulder. He'll be ready to play after the international break."

Real Madrid are second in the standings on 32 points, two behind surprise leaders Girona, who beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 earlier on Saturday.

Barcelona are third on 27 points and face lowly Alaves on Sunday.

Updated: November 12, 2023, 4:57 AM