'Extraordinary' Vinicius strikes twice as leaders Madrid thrash Osasuna

AFP , Saturday 16 Mar 2024

Vinicius Junior struck twice to earn Real Madrid a commanding 10 point lead at the top of La Liga in a 4-2 rout of Osasuna on Saturday.

Osasuna s Spanish defender #04 Unai Garcia tackles Real Madrid s Brazilian forward #07 Vinicius Junior during the Spanish league football match between CA Osasuna and Real Madrid CF at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona on March 16, 2024. AFP


The Brazilian forward mesmerised for Los Blancos and reached 18 goals across all competitions this season, while Dani Carvajal and Brahim Diaz also found the net in an entertaining romp for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Girona, second, visit Getafe later Saturday, while third-place Barcelona, 11 points behind Madrid, travel to face Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Madrid were without top goalscorer Jude Bellingham, completing a two-match suspension but, with Vinicius in full flow, barely missed the England international at El Sadar in Pamplona.

"I congratulated him, he had an extraordinary game, he made good decisions, he moved very well without the ball, that's where's he's improved the most," Ancelotti told reporters.

"With the ball he's always efficient and without it he's spectacular at the moment, he's so fast."

Vinicius' name made headlines this week after Real Madrid filed a legal complaint over alleged racist insults aimed at the Brazilian by Atletico Madrid and Barcelona fans, but on the pitch the forward's quality continues to speak for itself.

The 23-year-old dispossessed Alejandro Catena, who was dawdling on it, ran through and calmly rolled the ball past Sergio Herrera to break the deadlock after four minutes.

Osasuna were quickly back level through Ante Budimir, who finished from close range after Jorge Herrando nodded a corner back into his path.

Vinicius should have restored Madrid's lead moments later after being sent in on goal again by Antonio Rudiger, but this time Herrera denied him, keeping his balance well as the forward tried to throw him off with step-overs.

Madrid captain Carvajal put his side in front again in the 18th minute, finishing sublimely with the outside of his boot after Fede Valverde cleverly hooked the ball into his path in the box.

Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin made a good save at full stretch to push away a fierce Jose Arnaiz effort from the edge of the box.

Vinicius was booked just before half-time for dissent, his fifth yellow card of the season in La Liga -- meaning he is now banned for Athletic Bilbao's visit to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of March.

Diaz stretched Madrid's lead after an hour with a clinical finish after running on to a long ball was flicked on by Valverde.


Vinicius grabbed his second a few minutes later with a subtle poked finish after Valverde sent him hurtling in on goal -- his 12th league goal of the season.

He started the campaign slowly by his high standards but has six goals in his last four league matches.

The Brazilian could have completed his hat-trick just a couple of minutes later but fired wide after another dart into the box past Osasuna's crumbling back line.

Herrera denied Madrid forward Rodrygo in the final stages as the visitors sliced mid-table Osasuna open at will.

Home fans whistled Vinicius as he was substituted in the final stages but Ancelotti gave the forward a hug as thanks for taking Madrid one step closer to the Spanish title.

"The pressure that he has in terms of the atmosphere, he has to control that a bit more," added Ancelotti, after Vinicius' booking, his third yellow in three league games.

Iker Munoz pulled one back for Osasuna in stoppage time, but it was too little, too late for Jagoba Arrasate's side.

Madrid almost wrapped up the win in spectacular fashion but youngster Arda Guler hit the bar with an effort from just inside Osasuna's half in stoppage time, with Herrera out of position.

"For us it's a very tough day ... we were very fragile, against a team like Real Madrid you pay for that," Osasuna coach Arrasate told DAZN.

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