Vinicius Junior came off the bench to score a second half winner for Real Madrid to settle a largely even contest against Real Valladolid at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.

Zinedine Zidane made four changes to the side that beat Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin at the weekend, with Alvaro Odriozola and Marcelo handed their first starts of the season. Luka Jovic also kept his place in attack.

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Jovic should have opened the scoring after 19 minute when Fede Valverde played a cross into the middle after a rapid Real Madrid attack, but the struggling Serbian striker sent his shot wide of the target.

Valladolid's Spanish defender Javi Sanchez (R) chalenges Real Madrid's Serbian forward Luka Jovic during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF against Real Valladolid FC at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madri

Image credit: Getty Images

With Real Madrid struggling to create opportunities, Marco Asensio and Vinicius were introduced off the bench and it was the latter who made the difference, tucking away a low finish after some pinball inside the opposition box.

TALKING POINT - Vinicius Junior is one of Real Madrid’s most important players

Few Real Madrid players are scrutinised like Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian finds himself the subject of much discussion from fans and pundits, but this match proved why he is one of Real Madrid’s most important players. Vinicius makes mistakes, he is still very raw, but there is no denying that when he is on the pitch things happen. He changed this match for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) celebrates with Real Madrid's Spanish midfielder Marco Asensio after scoring during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF against Real Valladolid FC at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdeb

Image credit: Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH - Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

The difference in Thibaut Courtois from when he arrived at Real Madrid from Chelsea to now is astonishing. The Belgian made four crucial saves to keep his clean sheet this evening, doing more than anyone else on the pitch to secure the three points. Courtois has become a leader for Real Madrid and is arguably the best goalkeeper in the game at this moment in time.

Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid v Real Valladolid at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on September 30, 2020 in Madrid Spain

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PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid - Courtois 9, Odriozola 6, Ramos 7, Varane 5, Marcelo 6, Modric 6, Casemiro 7, Valverde 6, Isco 4, Jovic 5, Benzema 5. Subs - Carvaja 4l, Asensio 6, Vinicius 8, Mayoral 3l.

Real Valladolid: Roberto 8, Hervías 5, Bruno 5, Javi Sanchez 6, Raul Carnero 7, Míchel 5, San Emeterio 5, Oscar Plano 6, Orellana 5, Waldo 7, Weissman 6. Subs - El Yamiq 5, Guardiola 3, Perez 5, Villa 6, Andre 5.

KEY MOMENTS

19’ Big chance for Jovic! That should have been the opening goal for Real Madrid with Valverde bursting down the right. The Uruguayan found Jovic in the middle, but he side foots wide of the target!

48’ Saved! Off the crossbar! That's the closest we have come to a goal! Jovic's header from a corner kick was saved by Roberto and then Casemiro fired a close range shot off the underside of the crossbar!

65’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Real Valladolid: There is some confusion over whether or not he was offside, but Vinicius appears to have opened the scoring! A Valverde pass bounced back to the Brazilian off a Real Valladolid player and he tucked home the finish with composure!

83’ Off the woodwork! What a let off for Roberto! He rolled the ball out to the edge of the box, Modric made the tackle and got the shot away. Roberto had given up on it, but the ball came off the base of the post!

KEY STATS

Vinicius Junior became the second player to be born in 2000 or later to score 10 or more La Liga goals (after Ansu Fati).

Luka Jovic has failed to score in all of the 10 games he has started for Real Madrid in all competitions.

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