MADRID: Vinicius Junior ran to the corner and performed some samba moves by the flag before his team-mates rushed in to embrace him.

The young Brazilian forward had just scored another decisive goal for Real Madrid. His beautiful late strike sealed a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Sevilla on Sunday in a match between two of the best teams in Spain at the moment.

Vinicius neatly controlled the ball with his chest by the sideline before making a run past a couple of defenders. He fired a well-placed shot into the top corner from outside the area for an 87th-minute winner which delighted Real fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

It was the second goal in the last three matches for Vinicius, and the 11th in total in what has been his best season by far since joining Real. He has already scored more goals now than in his previous three seasons in total.

“He is extraordinary. He has something special on his feet,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “This is another step for him to become one of the best players in the world.”

Karim Benzema, another red-hot player for Madrid, also scored to give the league leaders a four-point advantage at the top over defending champions Atletico Madrid, who won 4-1 at Cadiz. Real Sociedad dropped to third after losing 1-0 at Espanyol, while Sevilla stayed fourth, five points off the lead. Betis are fifth, a point behind Sevilla after a 3-1 win over last-placed Levante.

Sevilla, who had been unbeaten in six consecutive league games, opened the scoring with a header by Rafa Mir in the 12th. Benzema equalised from close range after a blunder by Sevilla goalkeeper Bono in the 32nd.

Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois came up with a big save in stoppage time to guarantee the win for the hosts and keep Sevilla winless on the road against Real since 2008.

Atletico blew away Cadiz, with Diego Simeone’s side scoring all four of their goals in the second half.

Thomas Lemar began the scoring in the 56th minute before Antoine Greizmann and Angel Correa put Atletico out of sight. Jan Oblak’s own-goal pulled a goal back for Cadiz but Matheus Cunha responded immediately to add a fourth for Atleti.

Victory helps lift morale after Atletico’s 1-0 defeat at home to AC Milan that leaves them with a mountain to climb to reach the Champions League last 16. Atletico look better placed in La Liga, sitting above Sociedad.

Sociedad could have gone top for a few hours at least, but instead saw Espanyol end their 13-match unbeaten run in the league thanks to Yangel Her­rera’s late winner.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021

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