Real Madrid’s players celebrate after scoring the team’s second goal during the Spanish league soccer match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on September 18, 2022 (AFP)
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have made a perfect start to defending their title with a 100 percent record from six games. That win put Real two points clear of Barcelona, who had jumped to first place on Saturday.
The game was marred by racist chants directed at Real Madrid’s Brazilian striker Vinicius Junior outside the stadium before the game, prompted by criticism of his dancing goal celebration and a subsequent debate over whether that criticism was racist.
Fans also threw objects at Vinicius after a Real goal and directed racist chants at him in the closing stages.
After breaking the deadlock in the 18th minute, another Brazilian, Rodrygo, danced with Vinicius to cheer, much to the chagrin of Atlético’s furious supporters. Some threw objects, including lighters, at the duo.
Madrid were missing the injured Karim Benzema, while the hosts included Antoine Griezmann in the starting XI for the first time this season and were at the top in the early stages.
Spurred on by the rowdy atmosphere, Diego Simeone’s side surged high onto the field and put Los Blancos behind, while Felipe headed over and Dani Carvajal blocked a Yannick Carrasco shot into the side netting.
Geoffrey Kondogbia launched a shot on goal that narrowly missed, but with Atletico dominance, Madrid landed a sucker. Aurelien Tchouameni played a nice pass through the defense and Rodrygo skillfully sent it past Jan Oblak.
Atletico tried to fight back, with a fierce shot from Griezmann flying wide of the post and Thibault Courtois denying Carrasco the fight before Madrid delivered another killer punch.
Vinicius, who was booed by Atletico fans, combined with Luka Modric before hitting the post and Fede Valverde followed to slam into the net from close range after 36 minutes.
The Uruguayan has scored four goals and two assists in seven games in all competitions and has cemented himself as an indispensable presence on Ancelotti’s right.
Real Madrid took the sting out of the game in the second half by trying to save the ball. Atletico midfielder Koke has been booked for a wild hack at Rodrygo.
It was Koke’s 553rd game for the club, tying the all-time record set by Adelardo, who retired in 1976, but it was one to forget.
Mario Hermoso pulled back a goal when Courtois lobbed from a corner and the defender shouldered into the empty net in the 83rd minute, but Atletico failed to complete an unlikely comeback.
More racist chants were directed at Vinicius by some home fans and Hermoso was sent off in added time for struggling with Dani Ceballos on a corner to earn a second yellow card.
It was a bleak end to a bleak night for Atletico, both on and shamefully off the pitch.
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