Finally, a convincing win for Real Madrid.
They turned a poor first half into an electric second, with Vinicius Junior scoring, creating a litany of chances and frustrating Valencia to the point of a mind-blowing red-card challenge, all while the winger stuck it to ex-sponsor Nike in a 2-0 win. He backed up the strong message he sent to the boot maker, showing every bit of his worth after he blacked out his boots in the first half.
The signal to Nike? Vinicius Junior has the juice, and if you aren't going to pay for it, surely someone else will.
Still, it wasn't all good news for Madrid. They lost both Eder Militao and Karim Benzema to injury, both players appearing to pick up muscle problems to dampen what would otherwise be a perfect night.
Real Madrid had been frustrated by a disallowed goal, but when Carlo Ancelotti's side put the ball in the net for a second time in the 52nd minute, it stood. Marco Asensio cut onto his left foot and lashed the ball into the top corner, handing Madrid a 1-0 lead shortly after half-time. Vinicius Junior made it two 90 seconds later, darting down the left wing and slotting the ball into the far corner.
The home side could've had two or three more. Rodrygo narrowly missed a free-kick. Asensio curled a shot wide. Aurelien Tchouameni, returning from injury, sent an effort over the bar. But after Gabriel Paulista was sent off for a horrific kick on Vinicius Junior, Madrid exerted more control, and cruised to a 2-0 win.
Los Blancos now trail Barcelona by five points in La Liga, and will hope that the Blaugrana slip up in the coming weeks. But this was a promising performance from Carlo Ancelotti's side, and one that they can build on.