Real Madrid reclaim 2nd place from Atletico

Sports Desk, May 24 (EFE).- Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Wednesday to improve to 74 points, enough to take back second place in LaLiga from Atletico Madrid, who managed only a 3-3 draw with 19th-place Espanyol and are on 73 points with two matches to go.

The protagonist at the Santiago Bernabeu was a player who watched the game from the stands, seated alongside club president Florentino Perez.

Days after the Afro-Brazilian striker suffered yet another episode of racist abuse during an away match, every Blancos player took the field wearing shirts emblazoned with his number, 20, while a banner hanging from one side of the stadium proclaimed “We are all Vinicius, Enough!”

While Sunday’s incident in Valencia has already led to three arrests and the Spanish federation has imposed severe sanctions on the club, Real Madrid and both the Spanish and Brazilian governments are pressing for further action.

Before the game, Rayo players joined the Blancos to pose with a poster reading “Racists: Out of football,” and Vini himself came down to the pitch after the final whistle to salute the fans.

The hosts led at the break on Karim Benzema’s goal in the 31st minute. Raul de Tomas brought the visitors level in the 84th only to see Rodrygo score the winner for Real Madrid in the 89th and close the door on Rayo’s fading hopes for European play next season.

In Barcelona, Espanyol came back from a 3-0 deficit against Atleti to earn a point that could potentially help the club avoid relegation.

Saul Ñiguez, Antoine Griezmann, and Yannick Carrasco gave the Colchoneros what should have been a comfortable cushion over the second-worst team in LaLiga, but Espanyol scored three goals in the space of 15 minutes.

Cesar Montes and Vinicius Souza got goals from open play on either side of a penalty by Joselu. EFE jjl/dr

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