REAL SWAY TO SAMBA BEAT

Brazil­ian Boys Rodrygo & Vini­cius Score As Both Madrid Teams Win Ahead Of Derby

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport -

Madrid: Real Madrid’s cri­sis has been averted for the time be­ing at least af­ter they beat Osasuna 2-0 with­out Eden Haz­ard and Gareth Bale to go top of La Liga. Haz­ard and Bale were among a num­ber of play­ers rested by coach Zine­dine Zi­dane, with Real fac­ing seven games in 21 days, the next of them against city rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Vini­cius Ju­nior, who has en­dured a dif­fi­cult few months, filled the void, bend­ing a shot into the top cor­ner be­fore cry­ing tears of what pre­sum­ably were a mix­ture of joy and relief on Wed­nes­day. This time last year the 19-year-old ex­ploded onto the scene but in­jury and then a dip in form saw him drift, with this a chance to re­assert him­self in a much-ro­tated line-up. If Vini­cius was Madrid’s Brazil­ian sen­sa­tion 12 months ago, Rodrygo might be one for the present.

The 18-year-old, who was bought from San­tos in 2018 but joined last sum­mer, added a su­perb sec­ond goal, and his first for the club, just one minute af­ter com­ing off the bench for a re­mark­able de­but.

Ear­lier, Atletico’s Al­varo Mo­rata made a swift im­pact too but with less pos­i­tive re­sults af­ter he was sent off eight min­utes af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced as a sub­sti­tute against Real Mal­lorca.

Atletico were al­ready 2-0 up thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Joao Felix but Mo­rata will now be sus­pended for the derby at the Wanda Metropoli­tano. The Spa­niard’s dread­ful night got worse as he also ap­peared to en­gage in a heated ex­change with a fan as he later left the sta­dium.

A week ago it would have been al­most un­think­able that Atletico would play their rivals in a con­test of first against sec­ond in La Liga but that could now be the set­ting this week­end, de­pend­ing on Sevilla and Real So­ciedad’s re­sults on Thurs­day. Nicaraguan cap­tain Juan Bar­rera called into ques­tion the au­then­tic­ity of his coun­try’s votes in the FIFA awards as he said he did not sub­mit any votes even though he is cred­ited to have picked Lionel Messi and Juer­gen Klopp as his win­ners. The 30-year-old mid­fielder said he did not vote at all. “I did not vote in the awards #TheBest201­9 any in­for­ma­tion about my vote is false,” Bar­rera tweeted. FIFA said sub­mis­sions were signed and val­i­dated with its of­fi­cial stamp.

EGYPT’S VOTES DID NOT SEEM VALID: FIFA

FIFA ex­plained why votes from Egypt for Mo­hamed Salah did not count in its Best Player bal­lot where he was placed fourth. FIFA says sig­na­tures on Egypt’s bal­lots “were in cap­i­tal let­ters and thus seemed not valid (not au­then­tic).” Also, “forms were also not signed by the gen­eral sec­re­tary which is manda­tory.’’

Getty Im­ages

—Zi­dane TEEN KING: 18-year-old Rodrygo found the net on de­but a minute af­ter re­plac­ing his coun­try­man Vini­cius in the 71st minute

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