Real Madrid defender nets 100th career goal
Real Madrid’s 18-year-old Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior scored a spectacular volley to send the team into the Copa del Rey quarter-finals barring an extraordinary second-leg turnaround.
The £40.5 million teenager, who was Madrid’s best player in their 2-0 defeat at the weekend, capped another fine performance with the best goal of a 3-0 win for the hosts on Wednesday night.
Leaning back he side-footed the shot from a cross from the right and with Lucas Vazquez and Sergio Ramos having also scored Madrid were home and dry in the tie.
They started brightly albeit without Isco in the starting line-up and the stadium half empty. With Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio injured Isco’s failure to make the first team is striking. Spanish media have speculated that coach Santiago Solari feels the midfielder is not training properly.
The Sparsely populated Bernabeu saw Alvaro Odriozola cross for Karim Benzema for Madrid’s first chance. The French forward then blazed over from Vazquez’ pass.
The first to go close for Leganes was debutant Martin Braithwaite, on loan from Middlesbrough. His header was gathered by Keylor Navas. He then went close with a shot.
Odriozola was a constant threat for Madrid and went to ground after a wriggling through a gap in the Madrid defence but the penalty was not given.
Braithwaite, who hasn’t scored for Middlesbrough this season since asking for a transfer in the summer, continued to be Leganes’ best chance for a goal. Again Navas, in the team ahead of the injured Thibaut Courtois, had to save from the loanee.
Odriozola went down in the box again this time after contact with Gerard Gumbau and this time the referee pointed to the spot.
Ramos broke his run-up and as keeper Pichu Cuellar staggered to his left Ramos rolled the ball into the right corner for his fifth goal of the season on 44 minutes. He had a word for the keeper after scoring having not liked his attempt at mind games before he took the kick, kicking the turf around the penalty spot.
It was Ramos’ 100th career goal.
Leganes coach Mauricio Pellegrino was unhappy with the penalty decision and made his feelings clear at the break.
He had not liked the way Real Madrid complained about supposed VAR injustices against them in the build-up to the game. He will feel those pre-match complaints had paid off.
Vinicius had a quiet first half but he curled a shot wide after cutting in from the left at the restart and he then played a part in the second goal.
Unai Bustinza had the biggest hand in it playing a backpass shot to his goalkeeper that was cut out by Benzema. He rounded Cuellar and slipped the ball to Vinicius who slid it unselfishly to Lucas Vazquez who scored.
It was Lucas’ last touch as he made way for Isco on 70 minutes and with 15 minutes left Brahim Diaz came on for his debut.
The change was for Vinicius but the Brazilian’s last touch was to volley cross past Cuellar to all but settle the tie over two legs.