Real Madrid secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano, thanks to Rodrygo‘s late goal, propelling them back up to second place in La Liga.
The match, initially lackluster, burst into life during the final 10 minutes. Substitute, Raul de Tomas equalized for the visitors in the 84th minute after Karim Benzema’s first-half goal.
However, it was Rodrygo’s decisive strike that left Rayo languishing in 11th place.
Prior to the game, the focus was on the racist abuse suffered by Vinicius Junior at the hands of Valencia fans.
Madrid’s players and fans rightly paid tribute to the 22-year-old forward. In a show of solidarity, the entire team walked out onto the pitch wearing No. 20 shirts.
Although Vinicius had his three-match red card ban overturned by La Liga following the controversy, Carlo Ancelotti opted to exclude him from the matchday squad due to a reported minor knee injury.
Ancelotti made seven changes to the starting lineup in an attempt to break the streak of two consecutive defeats.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos returned to the midfield, but it was Benzema who proved pivotal for Los Blancos.
In the 31st minute, he took full advantage of an uncontested drop ball, scoring his 30th goal of the season with ruthless precision.
Isi Palazon and Eduardo Camavinga were involved in a tussle on the edge of Rayo Vallecano’s area, resulting in the referee calling for a drop ball.
However, instead of playing it back towards his own goal, the French forward passed to Federico Valverde, who returned the favor, allowing Benzema to bypass Stole Dimitrievski and calmly tap the ball into the empty net.