Elche 1-2 Real Madrid: Vinicius Junior scores twice in dazzling display for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who move to the top of LaLiga on goal difference despite 10-man hosts’ late consolation
- Real Madrid have moved to the top of LaLiga after beating Elche on Saturday
- Vinicius Junior netted the opener for Madrid, slamming in from a smart lay-off
- The in-form forward then doubled his tally on 73 minutes to double Madrid’s lead
- Pere Milla pulled one back for Elche out of nowhere to set up a grandstand finish
Brazil coach Tite had better hope his team scores the goals to beat Colombia and Argentina in their up-coming World Cup qualifiers. Otherwise the decision to not pick Real Madrid forward Vinicius for the doubler-header is going to haunt him.
Whatever happens in those games, overlooking the Real Madrid forward, no longer makes any sense. He destroyed Elche with two goals and he did it all without Karim Benzema who Carlo Ancelotti left resting back in Madrid.
Vinicius now has nine goals and three assists this season. His finishing was once a bit of a joke in Spain – he now needs to be taken deadly serious by every defence he faces.
Real Madrid moved to the top of LaLiga after beating Elche, with Vincius Jr scoring a brace
Vinicius (right) delivered a superb performance, and his goals saw his side jump up into first
The 21-year-old has added goals and decision making to the speed and skill he always had and is playing as well as any forward in La Liga this season. Benzema wasn’t missed in the rain at Elche and that’s the biggest compliment.
Vinicius has left Eden Hazard miles behind in the race for a permanent first-team starting berth and when Hazard replaced him with seven minutes left Elche – from a Casemiro mistake – pulled the game back to 2-1 through Pere Milla.
Real Madrid had taken the lead on 22 minutes with Vinicius cutting in from the left and shooting low past Kiko Casilla.
Elche: Casilla, Palacios, Roco, Bigas, Mojica, Fidel (Milla 81), Mascarell (Marcone 81), Guti, Pastore (Gumbau 71), Perez (Benedetto 71), Boye (Morente 81)
Subs not used: Gonzalez, Gonzalo, Carillo, Badia, Fernandez, Barragan, Josema
Goals: Milla 86
Sent off: Guti
Manager: Fran Escriba
Real Madrid: Courtois, Vasquez (Carvajal 65), Militao, Alaba, Marcelo (Mendy 66), Kroos, Casemiro, Modric (Camavinga 84), Rodrygo (Asensio 18), Mariano, Vinicius Jr (Hazard 85)
Subs not used: Vallejo, Nacho, Lunin, Jovic, Isco, Blanco, Fuidias Ribera
Goals: Vinicius Jr 22, 73
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti
Madrid opened the scoring on 22 minutes, with their in-form forward slotting home smartly
Vinicius wheeled away to celebrate, and later scored his second goal to double Madrid’s lead
Mojica had given the ball away in his own half and Madrid had punished them clinically with Casemiro finding Mariano, and the substitute striker replacing Benzema did as Benzema would have done, flicking the ball with a deft back-heel into Vinicius’ path.
Mariano almost scored himself moments later when a long ball over the top sent him clear. His step-over to fool Casilla was brilliant but he took a touch too many sending the ball wide and shot into the sidenetting from a tight angle.
Elche had not turned up just to admire Madrid’s counter-attacking and Lucas Boye twice went close with one shot wide and one that was well saved by Thibaut Courtois’ strong left arm.
Eder Militao and Vinicius posed for the cameras after the second goal, which sealed the win
It was Lucas Perez who had the best chance for the home side. Javier Pastore flicked the ball to him inside the penalty area after the hard-working Boye had crossed from the byline. But Perez pulled his shot wide.
Elche started the second half well with former Reading forward Boye still causing problems for Madrid.
Marcelo almost put through his own net with one clearance. But it was Elche who scored the ‘own-goal’.
Mariano Diaz was handed a surprise start by Carlo Ancelotti, but teed up Vinicius for his first
Their midfielder Raul Guti had already been booked in the first half for pulling back Luka Modric and when he dived in on Toni Kroos the referee pulled out a second yellow and he was off.
With ten men Elche conceded the second and it was another Vinicius special. He timed his run onto Modric’ pass perfectly and although one touched looked to have taken him too wide he was still able to send his shot past Casilla.
After Casemiro’s mistake was capitalized on by Milla there was some hope for Elche but despite both Mariano and Casemiro finishing with bloodied noses from aerial clashed Real Madrid held out to move back to the top of LaLiga.
Boss Ancelotti will be expected to at least challenge for the title this season in his second spell