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Valencia scrape vital win over Madrid amid Vinicius racism storm

VALENCIA (AFP) – Valencia snatched a crucial 1-0 win over Real Madrid to boost their La Liga survival hopes on Sunday but the victory was tarnished by an ugly incident involving apparent racism aimed at Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior.

Youngster Diego Lopez struck for Valencia in the first half but the chaotic second period saw Vinicius square off with home fans at Mestalla. He was later sent off in added time at the end of the game for hitting Hugo Duro during a brawl.

Midway through the second half, play was delayed for several minutes after Vinicius appeared to be racially abused by a Valencia supporter.

The Brazilian forward stood in front of the fans behind the goal and pointed to one, with team-mate Eder Militao by his side.

“I don’t want to talk about football, I want to talk about what happened here, it is more important,” Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told Movistar.

Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Eder Militao and Valencia’s Spanish midfielder Nico Gonzalez vie for a header. PHOTO: AFP

“A stadium shouting monkey at a player, and that a coach has to think about taking off the player, there’s something bad in this league.”

Referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea spoke to stadium officials, who made an announcement calling for racist insults to stop before play resumed around 10 minutes later.

“There’s a lack of respect for Vinicius shown continuously at almost every stadium in Spain,” Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos told Movistar.

“It’s a shame we’ve got to this point. It’s true the coach asked him if he wanted to keep playing.

“Vinicius is a professional and said he wanted to keep helping the team, but we see that we can’t do anything.”

Valencia striker Justin Kluivert apologised to Vinicius on behalf of his club.

“I apologise from us, all of Valencia, because this is not football. It’s very bad,” he told Movistar.

The delay led to 10 minutes being added on at the end, with Giorgi Mamardashvili producing a stunning save to deny Fede Valverde.

The Valencia goalkeeper then made another spectacular stop to tip Toni Kroos’ free kick over the bar.

Players from both sides ended up in a brawl in stoppage time which ended with a red card for Vinicius for lashing out at Duro with his arm.

Vinicius left the pitch making a gesture with his hands indicating Valencia were heading down to Spain’s second division.

Valencia had taken the lead in the 33rd minute when Lopez escaped Ferland Mendy and tucked home at the back post.

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a fine save to deny Javi Guerra as Valencia fought for their lives against a Madrid side with little left at stake, besides aiming to finish ahead of rivals Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico overtook Real by a point with a 3-0 win against Osasuna earlier on.

Valencia rose to 15th, five points clear of the relegation zone, sparking celebrations at full-time, with the team almost safe.

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