The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has come out in support of national player Damion Lowe, who was the alleged victim of racial abuse during a Major League Soccer match between Inter Miami and DC United on Sunday.

The MLS is investigating the incident.

“The JFF strongly condemns and abhors racism in any form whether on or off the field and we stand ready to give whatever support is necessary to Damion,” said the JFF in a statement on Monday.

 The incident involved D.C. United forward Taxi Fountas, who it is alleged used a racial slur while addressing the Reggae Boyz defender.

According to reports, the game came to halt for several minutes after Fountas and Lowe exchanged words in the 59th minute. Both players were issued yellow cards. D.C. After the game resumed, DC United coach Wayne Rooney substituted Fountas in the 66th minute.

 In a statement, MLS said that it has “zero tolerance for abusive and offensive behaviour and (they) take these allegations very seriously.” An investigation will begin “promptly.”

D.C. United issued its own statement, saying that the club is “aware of the allegations involving a player during the match against Inter Miami CF” and “will work closely with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami to investigate the incident.”

 In July, SWNT player Trudi Carter was the target of racist taunts coming from a section of the crowd in Mexico at the Concacaf W tournament.

Hugo Lloris and Theo Hernandez have withdrawn from the France squad for this week's Nations League matches with Austria and Denmark.

France are already without a number of key players for the double-header, with Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman all sidelined.

Adrien Rabiot withdrew from the squad last week and Didier Deschamps is now without two more players for the visit of Austria on Thursday and trip to Denmark three days later.

France confirmed on Monday that Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris and Milan defender Theo Hernandez are nursing thigh and groin injuries respectively.

Nantes keeper Alban Lafont has earned a first call-up to provide cover for captain Lloris, while Aston Villa's Lucas Digne has been summoned as Theo Hernandez's replacement.

France have posted two draws and two defeats in their opening four Group A1 matches and are battling relegation from the top tier.

30-time champions Jamaica College were held to a 0-0 draw by St. Catherine High in their ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup fixture at the Spanish Town Prison Oval on Friday.

JC are now second in Group B with one win and a draw in their first two games. Group leaders St. Jago High got their second win in as many games with a 5-1 win over hosts, St. Mary’s College. In the group’s other game, Cedar Grove were beaten 1-0 at home by Holy Trinity.

In Group E, Mona High beat Hydel 3-1 at Royal Lakes to move to six points and lead the group on goal difference. Wolmer’s Boys are also unbeaten so far after securing a 2-0 win over Kingston High at Breezy Castle. Camperdown and Papine High played out a 1-1 draw at the Alpha Institute in the group’s other clash.

In Saturday’s Group D fixtures, STATHS got their second win with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Dunoon at home while Norman Manley beat Tarrant 1-0 at Maxfield Park.

Action continues on Tuesday with 10 matches. In Group F, Jose Marti will host Kingston Technical, Clan Carthy will take on Excelsior at the Alpha Institute while Cumberland will host Campion College.

In Group C, Haile Selassie will visit Tivoli, Charlie Smith will take on Edith Dalton James at the Tony Spalding Sports Complex while Vauxhall will take on Bridgeport at home.

Tarrant will host Dunoon in the lone Group D fixture.

In Group E, Hydel will tackle Kingston High at Royal Lakes, Papine will host Wolmer’s Boys while St. Catherine and St. Jago will do battle at the Spanish Town Prison Oval.

RB Leipzig have appointed the highly rated Max Eberl as their new sporting director well over a year after Markus Krosche left the position.

Eberl has been out of work since resigning from a similar role at Borussia Monchengladbach in January due to feeling "drained and tired" and no longer having "the strength to carry out the job in the way the club deserves".

That brought to an end a 23-year association with Borussia, having initially joined them as a player in 1999 before moving into directorial positions from 2005.

Leipzig had operated without a permanent sporting director since the club and Krosche mutually terminated their agreement in April 2021 following "intensive discussions regarding the club's future".

Christopher Vivell, Florian Scholz and Frank Aehlig had been filling the void in the interim, but in Eberl, club chairman Oliver Mintzlaff believes Leipzig have the perfect candidate to take them forward when he assumes office on December 15 after signing a "long-term" contract.

"With Max Eberl, we were able to fill the position of managing director for sport with our absolute dream candidate," Mintzlaff said.

"We have been dealing with Max for a long time but have always respected his difficult situation and are now very happy to be able to start working together in December.  

"After his press conference in January this year, I got in touch with Max and wished him all the best. After that, I kept trying to get in touch, but Max told me that he needed peace and quiet and wasn't interested in football, but that we could meet up in the summer. That's why I never let go of contact and met him in the summer.

"Here, Max confirmed to me that he finds the perspective with us very interesting, but he did not want to come back before July 1, 2023. But that opened the door a bit for us, and we are now very happy that together with Max we found the starting point of our cooperation for mid-December.

"Max is an absolute football expert and has a large network and an excellent name in the industry both nationally and internationally. For many years in Monchengladbach he showed how you can build something up and find the right solution even for difficult situations.

"He has proven himself both as a transfer expert and as a promoter of talent, achieved a great deal and delivered a successful job."

Eberl took over football operations at Gladbach in October 2009 – at that point, they had not ended a top-flight season higher than 10th since 1996.

During his time in charge, the club finished higher than 10th in 10 successive seasons and even managed four top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

One of those came with Marco Rose as head coach, and the pair will link up again in Leipzig after the 46-year-old replaced Domenico Tedesco at the helm earlier this month.

Eberl was still technically contracted to Borussia, but the club agreed to dissolve their partnership, thus allowing him to join Leipzig.

Jules Kounde opted to join Barcelona over Chelsea as he "preferred Xavi's speech" to Thomas Tuchel's.

The France international had looked set to sign for Chelsea during the most recent transfer window, only to put pen to paper on a five-year deal at Camp Nou.

Sevilla director of football Monchi suggested at the time that Barca pounced for Kounde after Chelsea had withdrawn their offer due to "having doubts".

However, in an interview with French outlet L'Equipe, Kounde insisted the decision was his own after being wooed by Barca head coach Xavi.

"First, I have come to a huge club, which has known good times and which, lately, has had less," he said.

"I come to a project that I would not call reconstruction, because we already have a competitive team, but rather, being upturned.

"I was interested in being part of this new wave, in search of titles, and to put Barca back where it has always been, among the best clubs. 

"Then there was the conversation with the coach. We talked about football. I felt a real confidence from him, that he had a real knowledge of myself, my game and my qualities.

"I spoke with Tuchel and I also felt that he wanted me to come, but I simply preferred Xavi's speech."

Chelsea have made a slow start to the 2022-23 season and recently brought an end to Tuchel's 20-month tenure.

Despite their high-profile financial issues, meanwhile, Barca have made a strong start to their campaign and are two points off LaLiga leaders Real Madrid after six matches.

Kounde was registered by Barcelona at the end of August, a month after joining, and has helped the Catalan giants to four clean sheets in his five appearances.

Indeed, the five clean sheets Barca have kept in their opening six league matches is a tally they did not reach until 21 games played last season.

And Kounde, one of two defenders alongside team-mate Alejandro Balde to have provided two assists in a single LaLiga match this term, believes he is well suited to Xavi's style.

"When I talked to Xavi he told me that my qualities correspond to his game plan, starting from the back, playing high, using my qualities of speed and anticipation," Kounde said. 

"He also wants an aggressive team – we are one of the teams that presses high.

"He saw me in this system and I too saw myself in this team that I saw make a pretty crazy rise in the table last season. 

"With Sevilla we were 15 points ahead of them in the middle of the season. Xavi arrived and I saw the changes he made and what direction he was going in. I liked it."

Western Conference leaders LAFC re-discovered their form after a recent slump with a 3-1 home victory over Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

Carlos Vela scored a double, with both goals coming from the penalty spot, as LAFC secured only their second victory from their past eight games.

LAFC have a 15-1-0 record when scoring first this season although Houston leveled the game in the 24th minute from Corey Baird's classy goal after Vela netted an eighth-minute spotkick.

Vela restored LAFC's advantage from the spot on half-time after Fabrice Picault's handball was spotted by the VAR, with Ryan Hollingshead lifting home a third in the 52nd minute.

LAFC remain top of the Western Conference, nine points ahead of second-placed Austin, with two more matchdays until the postseason begins.

Gonzalo Higuain scored a 94th-minute winner to boost Inter Miami's playoffs hopes with a 3-2 road win over DC United, who had Christian Benteke net his first goal for the club.

Higuain struck the winner in the fourth of eight stoppage-time minutes, with a first-time strike from Deandre Yedlin's low cross from the right.

Benteke had opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a back-post left-foot volley, before Leonard Campana's double for Inter.

Taxiarchis Fountas equalised in the 57th minute before Higuain's late winner, which means Inter are seventh in the Eastern Conference, moving above Columbus Crew, who conceded again late in a 1-1 draw with Portland Timbers on Sunday.

The Crew were denied all three points with Santiago Moreno lashing home a 95th-minute equaliser for the Timbers, after Kevin Molino's first-half strike.

Carlo Ancelotti thanked Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone for praising Real Madrid's defensive work after Los Blancos won Sunday's derby.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first half sent Madrid on their way to a sixth win from as many league games this season.

Although Mario Hermoso pulled one back, before being sent off late on for two bookings, Madrid were good value for the win at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Simeone commended the work of Ancelotti in his post-match press conference, applauding Madrid's defensive organisation in a "low block" and their effectiveness on the break, likening them to his 2013-14 title-winning Atletico side.

His comment claiming that critics accused that Atletico side of being "defensive" may have been interpreted by some as a backhanded compliment for Madrid, though Ancelotti decided not to take the cynical view.

"I think that in the first half we managed very well defensively at the start, then we were comfortable with the goals and in the second half we got rid of the idea of ​​​​doing damage," Ancelotti said.

"It affected us because then we suffered at the end. Atletico pushed and created problems for us.

"Yes, we have defended with a low block and we are used to it. We removed the danger of [Atletico] breaking with [Antoine] Griezmann or Joao Felix. The low block allowed us to control them well.

"If Simeone says that we have defended well in a low block, I tell him thank you, it is a compliment.

"The ideal football is to score many goals and not concede, perfection does not exist."

Madrid's two goalscorers have emerged as key players this season, taking on greater responsibility after previously being deployed more like rotation options.

Rodrygo was starting in the injured Karim Benzema's place in attack and led the line effectively, earning LaLiga's MVP award for the match, and Ancelotti was eager to commend him and Valverde.

"Both of them are very special players because they are what the modern footballer has to be now, who must play in different positions, must have physique, technique," Ancelotti added.

"Both of them have progressed a lot, and we are delighted because they are doing very well."

Former Jamaica national football footballer Christopher Zaidie died on Sunday after a bout with cancer. He was 55.

Between the 1980s and 1990s, Zaidie, a midfielder, was a staple in local football in Jamaica.

As a member of the St. George’s College Manning Cup team between 1980 and 1984, Zaidie was teammates with the likes of Ziggy Marley, Andrew Price, Christopher Morgan, Michael Forbes, Nicholas Zaidie, Brian Hamilton and Garfield Pearcy. Under the guidance of the late coach Dennis Zaidie, he won the coveted triple twice – Manning Cup, Nutrament Shield, and Olivier Shield in 1983 and the Manning Cup, Walker Cup and Olivier Shield in 1984.

Dennis Zaidie and Jackie Bell, who coached Premier League club Santos, would perish in a motor vehicle accident in Mexico in 1986 having gone there to watch a match in the FIFA World Cup.

Chris would go on to represent Jamaica during the 1994 World Cup campaign, playing six matches between 1992 and 1993.

Price, who is now the head coach at Jamaica Premier League club Humble Lion and three-time Manning Cup champions Calabar High School, has been close friends with Zaidie since they played against each other in Alberga Cup football in the late 1970s– Zaidie for St Peter and Paul, Price for Alpha.

“Chris was more than a teammate, he was a friend and a brother and somebody who I could depend on and he could on me,” Price recalled of Zaidie, who at the time of his death worked as a teacher in Miramar, Florida.

“We were close from we were kids and played Alberga Cup football. We ended up at George’s and as schoolboys played for Kingston Lions in the now defunct Caribbean semi-professional league and Boys Town FC.”

Zaidie is survived by his wife Debbie and two children.

Christophe Galtier has heaped praise on "irreproachable" Neymar following Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win over Lyon, suggesting the Brazil international gives the Ligue 1 leaders "the best balance".

Neymar marked his 100th appearance in the French top flight with an assist for Lionel Messi's fifth-minute strike at Groupama Stadium; meaning he has now been directly involved in 15 of his side's 26 goals this term (scoring eight and assisting four).

The former Barcelona forward took his tally of goal involvements to 121 in Ligue 1 (77 goals, 44 assists) - more than any other player in their first century of appearances since Opta began analysing the competition in 2006-07.

"It is he who gives [us] the best balance," Galtier said of Neymar during his post-match press conference. "He has this ability to repeat efforts, he has volume, intensity. He is generous to the team.

"It gives a good balance. He is both able to replace himself, and to have dazzling and technical quality. He is a great animator. Obviously, the great players have to come out in this type of match.

"Neymar worked a lot for the team, and he came off a little rinsed and angry. This is normal. He has an irreproachable behaviour. He is sharp and has a lot of ambition on the season - both with the club and in terms of personal statistics."

Despite dominating possession for long stretches, PSG had to fend off a determined Lyon in the second half to take maximum points, and extend their winning streak to six matches across all competitions.

But while admitting his side could have been more clinical, having converted only one of their 15 shots on goal, Galtier insists his side were worthy of their victory.

"We knew we were going to face a tough game, but we had a very good game," he added. "We can still regret the number of missed or stopped chances by Anthony [Lopes], who had a very good game. The score could have been wider.

"As long as you are at 1-0, you are not immune to a reaction, Lyon pushed for that. But on the whole game, both on the possession of the ball and the clear situations, we deserved our victory in my opinion."

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone applauded the work of his opposite number Carlo Ancelotti after losing to the Italian's Real Madrid in Sunday's derby.

Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Civitas Metropolitano to ensure they go into the international break at the top of the table.

Madrid have won all of their first six LaLiga games in the 2022-23 season and rarely looked especially worried against Atletico, despite the hosts dictating the tempo for much of the second half.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first period sent Madrid on their way and, although Mario Hermoso – who was also sent off late on for two bookings – pulled one back, the away side were good value for the win.

Simeone subsequently struggled to hide his admiration for Ancelotti's team, suggesting they were comparable to the Atletico side that won the 2013-14 LaLiga title.

"Madrid defends very well, runs little, closes spaces for you, attacks on the counter-attack," Simeone told Movistar+. "They have a terrific forcefulness.

"The forcefulness is wonderful and seeing a team that attacks from deep and counter-attacks reminds me of our team with [Diego] Costa, and they [critics] told us that we played defensively. But when there is force, football is wonderful.

"[Atletico] made a great effort, we were close to drawing, but it's true that a team that defends organised like them and counter-attacks like that, I like it because you can play deep and play well. I congratulate them, it is a great job by the Madrid coach.

"But I am happy with the work of my team because they stuck it out until the end, the players made a great effort. Mario's expulsion was a pity because there were a few minutes left."

The result left Atletico seventh in the table heading into the international window – they go to Sevilla on October 1 in their next game after the break.

Rodrygo considers Karim Benzema "impossible to replace", but the Brazilian is nevertheless giving his all to fill in for the injured Real Madrid striker.

Madrid's opener came from Rodrygo in their 2-1 derby triumph at Atletico Madrid on Sunday, as Carlo Ancelotti's side kept up their 100 per cent record in LaLiga to top the table heading into the international break.

The Brazil international combined excellently with Aurelien Tchouameni to slot home in the 18th minute, before Federico Valverde made it 2-0 prior to the break.

Atleti fought back through Mario Hermoso's late goal, but it was not enough to inspire a full comeback – with the hosts' scorer subsequently sent off after picking up two bookings in as many minutes.

While captain Benzema is set to return after the international break, Ancelotti has been able to rely on Rodrygo to lead Madrid's line in the France frontman's absence, with the 21-year-old contributing to five goals in his last four LaLiga appearances.

Asked in a post-match interview with Movistar+ how difficult it was to replace Benzema, Rodrygo said: "I've always had confidence, but last season I scored more goals at the end [of the campaign] and now I have scored them at the beginning as well.

"I'm coming off a very good season and I want to continue like this, because I [can get] even better.

"It's impossible to replace Benzema, but I try and I think I'm doing well. I have to say that I do things differently to him, we have changed the style of play."

Defender Dani Carvajal, meanwhile, said Rodrygo had given Madrid "wings in attack", even if Benzema was "fundamental" to Los Blancos.

Madrid have won all nine of their matches this season in all competitions, and they are the only side in Europe's top five leagues with a perfect record.

It marks the third time Madrid have won their first nine games in a single campaign after 1961-62 and 1968-69, when they won their opening 11 games in both campaigns.

"We are very happy. We started the season at 100 per cent, winning everything," Rodrygo said. "We are going into the break wanting to rest, play with our national teams and come back better."

Rodrygo celebrated his opener with compatriot Vinicius Junior, who in the wake of being crudely told to "stop playing the monkey" by a football agent in midweek, was the target of racist chanting from some Atleti supporters outside the Civitas Metropolitano prior to kick-off.

"It's a pleasure to play with him, something very special, without a doubt," said Rodrygo of his team-mate, who played a key role in Valverde's goal, hitting the post after a brilliant run, which enabled the midfielder to tuck home on the rebound.

The match was not without its contentious moments, with Hermoso's second yellow particularly harsh. Having previously been booked for dissent, the centre-back was adjudged to have lashed out at Dani Ceballos, though replays showed it was a questionable decision.

"Very bad taste, we have lost a very important match. We have not been so bad, we have not deserved the defeat, but it is football," Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak told Movistar+.

On Hermoso's red card, Oblak said: "I've seen the video. The referee was very close and I don't know what he saw, but it's his decision and on video it's easier than [live], it's true.

"It didn't have to be yellow, there were still three minutes left and we could have taken advantage."

Jose Mourinho would consider introducing diving lessons for his Roma stars because he fears the only way they will win penalties is by "playing the clown".

The head coach was red-carded in Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to Atalanta after wildly protesting when Nicolo Zaniolo went down in the 55th minute under a challenge from Caleb Okoli but did not get a penalty.

Mourinho was adamant his team deserved a spot-kick for that incident, and he also wanted one in the first half for another challenge on Zaniolo, when Merih Demiral appeared to foul the Roma forward.

Zaniolo stumbled on and got back to his feet after tangling with Demiral, and the referee's refusal to point to the spot on that occasion appeared to fuel Mourinho's later tirade.

By marching onto the pitch, gesturing and yelling complaints, Mourinho left referee Daniele Chiffi with little option but to send him to the stands.

"I tried to speak to Chiffi after the game," said Mourinho. "If a referee tells me that it can never be a penalty if a player does not fall over, then I will have to start telling my players to fall over. I asked him to tell me why he had not given a penalty, but Chiffi did not give me a clear answer.

"Well, he said that it was a matter of interpretation. But for me it's not interpretation; it's a penalty and that's it. The player can still continue the action and then they can go back and give a penalty.

"I want to be the best coach I can be – if we need to instead start playing the clown and pretend that we are at the swimming pool, then I will change the training we do."

Mourinho's team won a penalty in their previous Serie A game against Empoli, which Lorenzo Pellegrini missed.

Replays for the second-half incident on Sunday suggested Zaniolo and Okoli were grappling at each other's shirt long before the Roma man went to ground.

Mourinho was asked whether he expected further action over what was seen as an angry outburst.

Quoted on Roma's official website, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss said: "Angry? I went on the pitch and if the rules say that I cannot then I must be sent off – and there's nothing more to it than that. Let's not make up things that didn't happen.”

Giorgio Scalvini scored the game's only goal in the 35th minute, a smart side-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area that arrowed through a crowd of players and found the bottom-right corner.

It puts Atalanta second at the end of the seventh round of Serie A games, with Napoli overtaking them on goal difference on Sunday evening after winning 2-1 at Milan. Roma sit sixth, four points behind the top two.

Stefano Pioli bemoaned Milan's wastefulness in front of goal as their 22-match unbeaten streak in Serie A ended with a 2-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday.

Matteo Politano put Napoli ahead from the penalty spot after Sergino Dest's clumsy foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Olivier Giroud pulled Milan level in the 69th minute, but Giovanni Simeone headed home a winner in the 78th minute to ensure Napoli returned to the Serie A summit.

Milan had 22 shots to Napoli's nine, but Pioli says that is scant consolation after watching his side suffer a first league defeat of the campaign.

"I am not satisfied at all and neither should my players be," he told DAZN. "We only scored one goal, which isn't enough for all that we created.

"It's disappointing because nights can happen when the opponents play better, but in this case we really shouldn't have lost.

"I hope we will learn from this to be more clinical in front of goal because we did everything right except for errors and a lack of determination in both penalty areas.

"I could have said I was very happy because we played better than Napoli and created lots of chances, but seeing as we were the only side unbeaten in Europe's top five leagues for 22 matches – longer than Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Real Madrid – it's a shame to lose it with a performance like that.

 

"On Simeone's goal we had too many players attacking the man with the ball, forcing Messias to sit deeper, which freed up Mario Rui.

"It's difficult to blame our defensive movements when Napoli only really had that chance. I am more bitter about the lack of chances that we converted.

"We allowed very little to a side that usually creates and scores a lot of goals. It's true we are conceding too many at the moment and need to work on that, but my concern is more up front."

Milan, who dropped down to fifth following the defeat, travel to Empoli on October 1 following the international break. 

It's not often Real Madrid get painted as the good guys, but Sunday's derby clash with Atletico was one of those few occasions.

As Carlo Ancelotti's Los Blancos left the Civitas Metropolitano with a 2-1 win, there was little doubt that they were the better side on the day.

But, strangely for a fixture of such magnitude, the actual football was sadly almost a sideshow as Spanish football's racism problem reared its head once again.

Through no fault of his own, Vinicius Junior had been the chief focus in the build-up after Pedro Bravo, an agent who appears on Spanish football show El Chiringuito, made a racially insensitive comment while on TV.

Referencing Vinicius' harmless tendency to celebrate goals with a little dance, Bravo suggested the Brazilian should "respect your mates and stop playing the monkey", comments that unsurprisingly drew criticism from all over the football world.

It was heart-warming to see how many people rallied around Vinicius in the wake of Bravo's ridiculous outburst. Many of his international team-mates and Brazil great Pele issued messages of support urging him to dance on.

Vinicius himself made a statement vowing to keep dancing, and Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus dedicated a similar celebration to his colleague earlier on Sunday.

That should have been the end of all the pointless debating about whether the celebration is disrespectful or not (it clearly isn't), but unfortunately it wasn't.

As Atletico 'ultras' queued on their way into the stadium before kick-off, offensive chants targeting Vinicius were being sung by hundreds of fans. Not a few, hundreds, and video footage brought the scenes to attention on social media.

What makes those chants even more disappointing is that few would've been hugely surprised. Atletico ultras have a history of disgracing their club. In 2018, 30 of them were apprehended in Bruges for making Nazi gestures, according to Marca; and as recently as April, they were hit with a partial stadium closure in the Champions League due to similar behaviour from fans against Manchester City.

Ultra group Frente Atletico were banned from the club's old stadium the Vicente Calderon in 2014 after clashes with Deportivo La Coruna fans led to the death of 'Jimmy', a member of the latter's Riazor Blues, who was attacked and thrown into the Manzanares river.

Despite that ban, the group's attitudes were never completely banished, and Sunday's pre-match scenes were a grim reminder of Atletico's failure as a club to stamp out far-right ideologies within its fanbase.

Thankfully, though, Vinicius is a brave young man who wasn't about to suppress his personality and mentality to appease some Neanderthals.

As the pre-game chants foreshadowed, Vinicius' first touch was vociferously jeered by Atletico fans. But the Brazilian amusingly responded with the most extravagant six-yard pass he could think of, dragging the ball back with his right foot before flicking it back down the flank to Ferland Mendy with his left all in one motion. Essentially, it was as close to dancing as he could've got in that moment.

It wasn't long before he was dancing for real, though. Vinicius wasn't even involved in the goal, as Rodrygo produced an emphatic finish from Aurelien Tchouameni's gorgeous pass – the scorer then darted towards the corner flag and began to strut his stuff.

Vinicius was quickly on the scene, gyrating with extra exuberance as Atletico fans threw objects on to the pitch around the celebrating Madrid players, most of whom embraced the former Flamengo talent with greater vigour than they did Rodrygo.

There was no mistaking Vinicius' influence just after the half-hour mark, however. The winger left Marcos Llorente in his dust and darted into the left side of the penalty area before prodding an effort goalwards. It fell kindly to Federico Valverde, who smashed in from close range.

Atletico players dished out rough treatment to Vinicius, perhaps as you might have expected as their biggest attacking threat in the absence of Karim Benzema, though he continued to play his natural game, toying with Llorente on several occasions and even attempting an audacious rainbow flick over Axel Witsel, which certainly angered the home support.

In the end he never quite got the moment of personal jubilation many might've hoped he'd have, with Atletico spending much of the second half on top as they tried to produce a comeback.

But Mario Hermoso's shouldered late goal proved only a consolation as Atletico failed to rise to the occasion, with Madrid holding firm enough to continue the excellent start to their title defence.

The action, and even the result, won't be the post-match focus, however. The vile scenes from earlier in the day will be what this match is remembered for – Atletico's response to that is far more important than how they ultimately react to this defeat.

Real Madrid returned to the summit of LaLiga by beating neighbours Atletico Madrid 2-1 in a full-throttle derby.

Racist chanting in reference to Vinicius Junior from a large group of Atleti fans outside the Civitas Metropolitano soured Sunday's meeting before kick-off, but Carlo Ancelotti's team delivered the perfect rebuttal on the pitch.

Rodrygo continued his excellent form with a superb finish from Aurelien Tchouameni's exquisite pass before Federico Valverde doubled Madrid's tally.

An improved second-half display from Atleti led to an 83rd-minute goal from substitute Mario Hermoso, who was then sent off as Madrid held firm to make it nine wins from nine in all competitions this season.

Atleti defender Felipe had the first chance in the sixth minute, heading over from Rodrigo de Paul's free-kick.

Yannick Carrasco scored the winner in the last meeting between the great rivals and had a shot deflected wide at the culmination of an excellent run – Joao Felix seeing a shot blocked from the resultant corner.

Yet with their first shot, Madrid struck in the 18th minute, Rodrygo poking home from a delightful one-two with Tchouameni, whose sublime, lofted pass evaded Felipe.

Antoine Griezmann drew a fine save out of Thibaut Courtois as Atleti searched for an equaliser, but Madrid were in complete control when Valverde expertly steered home from a tight angle after Vinicius hit the post.

Despite Courtois saving from Carrasco before the interval, Madrid kept Atleti at arm's length after the restart, and Simeone turned to Matheus Cunha and Alvaro Morata around the hour.

Yet it was a defender who came on to set up a grandstand finale – Courtois flapping at a corner and Hermoso turning the ball home off his shoulder.

Atleti's comeback hopes were dashed, though, when Hermoso harshly received a second booking for shoving Dani Ceballos at a corner, two minutes after receiving a caution for dissent.

What does it mean? Two-horse race looking likely

Diego Simeone was overseeing his 408th LaLiga match, making him the Atleti head coach with the most games managed in the competition, overtaking Luis Aragones. Yet once they had gone behind, Atleti never looked likely to mark Simeone's milestone with a victory, meaning his LaLiga record as their boss now stands at 247 wins, 95 draws and 65 defeats.

In the grand scheme of things, however, Sunday's match merely proved the gulf in quality that has developed between the city rivals since Atleti won LaLiga in 2020.

Bar one lapse in concentration for Hermoso's goal, Los Blancos, the only team in Europe's top five leagues with a 100 per cent record this season, were a class above as they claimed a 91st LaLiga triumph over Atleti and with eight points the gap between them and Madrid, it already looks as though it will be between the reigning champions and Barcelona (second, two points behind Ancelotti's team) for the title.

Rodrygo and Valverde on a roll

Filling in for the injured Karim Benzema, Rodrygo was immense, and he has now contributed to five goals in his last four games in LaLiga (scoring three times and providing two assists).

Valverde, meanwhile, continues to see his star rise. The 24-year-old midfielder has been involved in seven goals in his last 10 Madrid appearances in all competitions, as many as in his previous 95 Los Blancos appearances combined. His finish might not have matched the stunning strike he planted in from long distance against Mallorca or his superb, curling goal against RB Leipzig in midweek, but it required great composure, not to mention the energy and pace to get there in the first place.

Vinicius keeps on dancing

Football has united behind Vinicius after a Spanish agent seemingly used a racial slur against the Madrid star on an appearance on El Chiringuito. Unfortunately, despite Atleti's president Enrique Cerezo having issued his support of Vinicius in the build-up to the match, a large portion of home fans were recorded singing a racist chant directed at the 22-year-old prior to kick-off.

Seemingly in response, Atleti tweeted "Countdown to the derby. Support Atleti with passion and respect to the rival!". However, in a tense atmosphere, Vinicius showed his defiance to the abuse while celebrating Rodrygo's opener, joining his compatriot in dancing down on the touchline.

Vinicius did not just offer up defiance with his celebration, though. His part in Madrid's second was brilliant; a trademark, cutting run in from the left and, while his finish lacked precision, Valverde was on hand to score his third goal in as many matches.

What's next?

Madrid host Osasuna in their first game back after the international break on October 2, while Atleti face Sevilla a day earlier.

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