Rodrygo brace earns Madrid victory over Sevilla

AFP , Saturday 27 May 2023

Rodrygo hit a brace to earn Real Madrid a 2-1 win over Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday, sending his side four points clear of third-place rivals Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match between Sevilla FC and Real Madrid CF at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on May 27, 2023. Photo: AFP


Madrid were without injured winger Vinicius Junior, who was racially abused by Valencia fans last weekend and has drawn global support during the week.

Carlo Ancelotti's team, second, were also missing injured duo Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio in attack.

Rodrygo was Madrid's only fit regular starting forward -- and he made it count after Rafa Mir's opener for the Europa League finalists, who face Roma on Wednesday.

Jose Luis Mendilibar rotated many of his usual starting players at a rain-soaked Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium to prepare for the final against Jose Mourinho's side.

Mir slammed a rebound into the roof of the net to send Sevilla ahead in the third minute after Bryan Gil's shot was blocked.

Rodrygo should have equalised but fired off-target when well placed, after good build-up play by Dani Ceballos and Lucas Vazquez.

However, the Brazilian soon pulled Real Madrid level from a free-kick, curling his effort around the wall and into the bottom corner, wrong-footing goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

Mir came close again early in the second half with an effort which whistled narrowly over, before Rodrygo pounced for his second goal.

Set free by Toni Kroos, the Brazilian forward sent Sevilla defender Gonzalo Montiel one way and then the other, before slipping home past Bounou.

It was the Brazilian's ninth league goal of the season, a campaign in which he has slowly become one of Ancelotti's most reliable players.

Young Madrid striker Alvaro Rodriguez, on as a substitute, could have extended his team's lead but headed wide at the far post from Kroos's curling free-kick cross.

Marcos Acuna was sent off for Sevilla in the final stages for an ugly tackle on Ceballos, leaving his side without much chance of making a comeback.

The red card heated up a previously tranquil match and the players rowed on a couple of occasions during nine minutes of stoppage time, but Madrid were eventually able to seal their win.

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