Vinicius Junior was sent off as Diego Lopez helped Valencia edge closer to LaLiga safety with victory over Real Madrid.
Vinicius Junior was sent off amid a late brawl as Real Madrid fell to a 1-0 loss against Valencia in an ill-tempered LaLiga encounter.
The Brazil winger had already been at the centre of another flashpoint earlier in the game, following a bizarre incident involving two balls on the pitch at the Mestalla.
But he was given his marching orders after pushing Hugo Duro in the face in stoppage time, marking a miserable return to domestic action for Carlo Ancelotti’s side following their chastening Champions League exit against Manchester City in midweek.
Diego Lopez’s lone goal helped Los Che continue their resurgent form as they seek to secure top-flight safety in the final weeks of the season.
Lopez carved the visitors open in the 33rd minute to give Valencia the lead, with a deft tap-in squirming past Thibaut Courtois for his first senior goal for Los Che.
Madrid could not find an equaliser before the break, and looked uninspired in their pursuit upon the restart until a dramatic incident heading into the final quarter.
As Vinicius broke down the left edge, his attempt to cross was foiled when Eray Comert fired a second ball onto the pitch and directly into his delivery.
The Brazilian was subsequently left incensed after an off-field incident involving opposition supporters in the stand behind the goal.
Worse was to come for Vinicius amid a whopping 17 minutes of stoppage time as he was dismissed for a shove to Duro’s face in a mass brawl, capping a dismal day for Madrid as Valencia clung on.
What does it mean? Madrid see red
It was already looking like a lethargic day at the office for Ancelotti’s men, after they registered just three shots during the first half.
However, the slew of incidents involving Vinicius drove them into a frenzied final act, one which saw them pay the price instead of their hosts.
Vinicius takes unwanted record
Vinicius was close to boiling point by the time he was at the middle of a fight between both sides, and it was not too surprising to see VAR overturn his initial yellow card and hand out a red.
At 22 years and 313 days old, he became the youngest Madrid forward to be sent off in LaLiga this century, surpassing Robinho against Sevilla in May 2007 (23 years and 101 days).
Lopez delights in success
The 21-year-old made the most of his opportunity and proved to be one of the brighter sparks during a calmer first half.
With three shots, no other Valencia player managed more attempts than Lopez throughout the game (level with Javier Guerra and Justin Kluivert).
- Valencia have scored in their last six LaLiga games, their longest run in the competition since October.
- Giorgi Mamardashvili’s five saves were the most he has had to make in a LaLiga game since May last year.
- Valencia have beaten Madrid for the first time since November 2020 in LaLiga, a run of four games without a win.
Madrid host Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday while Valencia travel to face Real Mallorca the following day.