Rodrygo and Federico Valverde scored to give Real Madrid a 2-1 victory over neighbors Atletico Madrid in a heated derby on Sunday as they returned to the top of La Liga.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have started their title defense in perfect fashion, with a 100 per cent record in six games. This victory put Real Madrid two points above Barcelona, who had jumped into first place on Saturday.
The match was marred by racist chants directed at Real Madrid’s Brazilian striker Vinicius Junior outside the stadium before the match, sparked by criticism of his dancing goal celebrations and a subsequent debate over whether such criticism was racist.
Fans also threw objects at Vinicius after a Real goal and hurled racist chants at him in the closing stages.
After another Brazilian, Rodrygo, broke the tie in the 18th minute, he danced in celebration with Vinicius, much to the chagrin of enraged Atletico supporters. Some threw objects, including lighters, at the duo.
Madrid were missing the injured Karim Benzema, while the hosts chose Antoine Griezmann in the starting line-up for the first time this season, and were on top in the opening stages.
Spurred on by the rowdy atmosphere, Diego Simeone’s team pressed high on the pitch and put the Whites at a disadvantage, with a header from Felipe and Dani Carvajal deflecting a shot from Yannick Carrasco into the side of the net.
Geoffrey Kondogbia launched an attempted goal that narrowly missed, but with Atlético dominating, Madrid landed a punch.
Aurelien Tchouameni took a delicious pass over the defense and Rodrygo cleverly dispatched it past Jan Oblak.
Atlético tried to fight back, with a fierce shot from Griezmann flying over the post and Thibault Courtois denying Carrasco, before Madrid struck another fatal blow.
Vinicius, whistled by the rojiblanca fans, combined with Luka Modric before hitting the post and Fede Valverde continued to shoot from close range in the 36th minute.
The Uruguayan has four goals and two assists in seven games in all competitions, establishing himself as an essential presence on Ancelotti’s right flank.
Real Madrid took the sting out of the game in the second half by trying to keep the ball. Atlético midfielder Koke was booked for a savage blow to Rodrygo.
It was Koke’s 553rd match for the club, equaling the all-time record of Adelardo, who retired in 1976, but to forget.
Mario Hermoso came from behind when Courtois shot in a corner and the defender shouldered into the empty goal in the 83rd minute, but Atlético were unable to complete an unlikely comeback.
Some home fans directed more racist chants at Vinicius, and Hermoso was sent off in stoppage time for fighting Dani Ceballos from a corner to earn a second yellow card.
It was a sad end to a sad night for Atlético, both on and, embarrassingly, off the pitch.