Vinícius scores 2 to earn Madrid draw against Valencia

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BARCELONA, Spain, March 3, (AP): Vinícius Júnior scored twice to lift Real Madrid to 2-2 against Valencia in the Spanish league in his first return to Mestalla Stadium where he was racially abused last season.
Jude Bellingham was red-carded after the final whistle when he protested the referee’s decision to waive off what would have been the winning goal. The referee said time expired just before Bellingham’s last-gasp header.

Vinícius struck in the 50th and 76th minutes to wipe out first-half goals by Hugo Duro and Roman Yaremchuk.
Last May’s racial attack was among the worst the Black player has had to repeatedly endure in Spain. It led to an upswell of support for the Brazil forward and forced soccer authorities to take action, even though the abuse toward him has continued.

While there were no immediate reports of more racial insults on Saturday, a large group of spectators did chant “Vinícius is stupid” and booed him loudly throughout.
After his first goal, Vinícius held up his fist toward the Valencia fans behind the goal. After his equalizer, he cupped his ears as if asking for more from the fans who jeered him.

While Valencia banned three fans for life from its stadium after they were identified as having racially abused Vinícius last season, the club has likewise criticized the player and Madrid for what it considers the unfair categorization of its fanbase as predominantly racist.

In a short interview with Madrid’s club television, Vinícius did not mention the fans and said only that it was “a very difficult game.” But on his Instagram account, he posted an image of himself raising his fist after his first goal with the short message “The fight continues.”

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