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La Liga: Vinicius Jr stunner rescues Real Madrid against Sevilla

Vinicius Junior ran to the corner and performed some samba moves by the flag before his teammates rushed in to embrace him. The young Brazilian forward had just scored another decisive goal for Real Madrid. His beautiful late strike sealed a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Sevilla on Sunday in a match between two of the best teams in Spain at the moment.

Vinicius Junior neatly controlled the ball with his chest by the sideline before making a run past a couple of defenders. He fired a well-placed shot into the top corner from outside the area for an 87th-minute winner which delighted Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

“That’s what the great players do, they capitalize on the chances they get and make a difference,” Madrid midfielder Casemiro said. It was the second goal in the last three matches for Vinicius Junior, and the 11th in total in what has been his best season by far since joining Madrid. He has already scored more goals now than in his previous three seasons in total.

“He is extraordinary. He has something special on his feet,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “This is another step for him to become one of the best players in the world.“

Karim Benzema, another red-hot player for Madrid, also scored to give the league leaders a four-point advantage at the top over defending champion Atletico Madrid, which won 4-1 at Cadiz. Real Sociedad dropped to third after losing 1-0 at Espanyol, while Sevilla stayed fourth, five points off the lead.

Sevilla, which had been unbeaten in six consecutive league games, opened the scoring with a header by Rafa Mir in the 12th. Benzema equalized from close range after a blunder by Sevilla goalkeeper Bono in the 32nd. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois came up with a big save in stoppage time to guarantee the win for the hosts and keep Sevilla winless on the road against Madrid since 2008.

ATLETICO REBOUNDS

Atletico got the goals flowing in the second half, with Antoine Griezmann among the scorers in the win at Cadiz. Thomas Lemar, Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha also scored after halftime for Atletico as it rebounded from a surprising home loss to AC Milan that left it in danger of elimination from the Champions League.

Diego Simeone’s team had won only one of its last four matches in all competitions. After a slow start, Atletico secured the three points by scoring three goals in a 20-minute span.

Lemar broke the deadlock in the 56th, then Griezmann scored in the 70th and Correa in the 76th. Cunha added a fourth in the 86th, after Cadiz had pulled one closer in a rare own-goal by Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who couldn’t swat away a high lob shot that went across the area and over his head.

“We have to try to keep improving,” Simeone said. “It was important to win this match so we could stay on the right path in the league.” It was the second consecutive loss for Cadiz, which has won only once in its last 10 league matches. It’s 17th in the league, just outside the relegation zone.

SOCIEDAD LOSES AGAIN

After having its 17-match unbeaten streak ended by Monaco in the Europa League on Thursday, Real Sociedad lost at Espanyol. The result dropped Sociedad to third place, one point off the lead.

Yangel Herrera scored in the 77th for Espanyol, which moved to ninth place. Sociedad had a controversial second-half goal by Alexander Isak disallowed because the ball touched the referee in the buildup.

BETIS THRIVES

Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis stayed close to the Champions League spots with a 3-1 home win over last-place Levante, with forward Juanmi Jimenez scoring all three goals for the hosts in the second half.

Levante, which took an early lead with a goal from Shkodran Mustafi, is the only team without a win after 15 league matches. Its winless streak in the competition is now at 23 games, dating back to last season. Betis is fifth with 27 points.