Real Madrid: Vinicius is a cannon

Solari's Real Madrid revolution Bartra: Vinicius called me a son of a b**ch three times, he has a lot to learn In Real Madrid's 2-1 win away to Real Betis on Sunday night, Vinicius Junior was the reference point going forward as he continued to show his growth as a player. It is rather surprising that an 18-year-old is already such a vital player for a side who have won four of the past five Champions League titles, yet the confidence he plays with is astonishing for someone of his age. He asked for the ball, carried it forward and made dangerous runs in the opposition area for a side who rarely had possession, finishing with just 26 percent at the end of the match; on the few occasions Madrid were able to retain the ball, however, the danger often came from Vinicius. Given Los Blancos' issues in attack, where they were without the injured Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale, as well as the suspended Lucas Vazquez, Santiago Solari opted for a more defensive system whereby the spine of the team was reinforced. The Argentine played a five-man defence with Casemiro, Luka Modric and Fede Valverde in central midfield, while Vinicius and Karim Benzema had to feed off scraps. In fact, the only way they could get involved was by dropping deep and creating chances themselves, as Vinicius did. It was his pass that set Valverde one-on-one with Pau Lopez in the first half, where Madrid could have gone 2-0 ahead, but the Uruguayan opted to do a Guti-esque backheel for Benzema which did not come off. Even with Modric's goal, it all came from Vinicius linking up with Sergio Reguilon, the Brazilian's companion when it came to attacking the right side of Betis' defence. Once Benzema had to go off injured and Betis made it 1-1 through Sergio Canales, Vinicius had to take on even more weight in his backpack as every Madrid counterattack would go through him. In the final period of the match, however, following Casemiro pushing forward and the work of Vinicius, Solari found his prize as Dani Ceballos scored the game-winning free-kick in the 88th minute . There is no doubt that Vinicius' status has already elevated beyond what many had expected for this season, particularly Julen Lopetegui who opted not to put faith in the Brazilian, but for the time being, he has the love of the Santiago Bernabeu and Solari as he responds to the tremendous pressure that is being put on his shoulders.

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