Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro hailed "difference maker" Vinicius Junior after the in-form Los Blancos star produced a moment of brilliance to sink Sevilla in LaLiga.

Vinicius' stunning late goal helped Madrid overcome rivals Sevilla 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Rafa Mir's early header had Madrid on the backfoot against former head coach Julen Lopetegui, but Karim Benzema restored parity after the half-hour mark.

Vinicius then stepped up three minutes from the end with a wonderful long-range shot as Madrid moved four points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad atop the standings.

The Brazil international has now scored nine goals in 14 LaLiga appearances this season – one more than in his previous 82 games for Madrid in the competition, and Casemiro lauded 21-year-old.

"He knows that the teams are going to make it difficult for him because they realise that he's a very important player for Real Madrid," Casemiro said of his countryman.

"Great players score great goals whenever they get the chance.

"We know he's a great player, he's a difference maker when he gets the chance."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois added: "Vini struggled to get into the game, but then he got a great goal.

"[He] trains really hard so that things like that come off in games. He didn't have the best of games, but the confidence he has in his own ability to make the difference is what we need from him and he delivered tonight.

Madrid have won more points from losing positions than any other team in LaLiga this season – 10 points, two more than neighbours and defending champions Atletico.

"It's important for us to play at home with the fans behind us. The coach makes it very clear that the substitutions are important," Casemiro said.

"The players who came on today did very well. We're Real Madrid and we have to have a strong squad."

Casemiro felt Real Madrid showed their LaLiga title credentials in a 1-0 victory at Real Betis.

Fit-again full-back Dani Carvajal scored his first goal since November 2019 on his return to the starting line-up with a stunning second-half volley to put Los Blancos joint-top of the table.

Betis had their chances in a feisty encounter on Saturday, but Madrid stretched their unbeaten run to 21 matches in the Spanish top flight.

Midfielder Casemiro believes the way Madrid rolled up their sleeves to secure all three points – and a first clean sheet of the season – bodes well in their quest to regain the title.

"This is the way to win titles, we are working well," Casemiro said. "The key has been the work of everyone, of those who have also arrived [at the club].

"We started the first 10 minutes well and then they have improved, but they were always far from the goal, without being dangerous."

Casemiro praised captain Karim Benzema, who set up Carvajal's winner with a pinpoint pass, and refused to be drawn on the potential arrival of Kylian Mbappe.

"The league is very complicated, it will be very difficult. We can talk about his quality [Mbappe], but he is not here," he added.

"We are used to the quality of Karim. It is normal for us."

Carvajal was making his first start of the season due to a muscular injury and was delighted to mark it with a hard-earned victory.

"I haven't felt this good in a long time. It’s a great feeling. I worked hard on recovery to make it back for the second matchday," he said.

"I was a bit tired at the end of the match, which is normal with such an intense rhythm. We're very happy for the win."

Brazil captain Casemiro suggested the entire Selecao squad are united against hosting the upcoming Copa America.

The 2021 Copa America is scheduled to take place in Brazil, starting June 13, following CONMEBOL's decision to relocate the event.

Postponed from 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Copa America had been due to be shared between Colombia and Argentina, though both countries were removed as co-hosts following respective political and COVID-19 issues.

Brazil have been awarded hosting rights in pursuit of back-to-back titles, despite being one of the country's worst hit by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Prior to Friday's 2-0 win over Ecuador in World Cup qualifying, Brazil head coach Tite could not guarantee the participation of his side at the showpiece event on home soil, promising to shed more light on the situation following Tuesday's fixture against Paraguay.

After Brazil preserved their perfect record in qualifying following five wins from five games, Casmeiro was asked about the team's reported stance.

"We cannot talk about the Copa America, even if everyone knows what our opinion is," Casemiro told TV Globo post-game. "But we can't talk about it, everyone knows that we think.

"It is very clear what we think about the Copa America, but now we have to respect certain hierarchies. It is clear that we want to express ourselves about it, but unfortunately now we cannot."

Casemiro, whose Brazil are due to face Paraguay before their scheduled Copa America opener against Venezuela on June 13, added: "We are not going to talk about this, Tite already told how the opinion is.

"As the captain and leader, we already have our position. We want to talk but now is not the moment to do it.

"I'm not the only one, it's not only the European players [against hosting], we are all. When someone speaks, everybody does it, or Tite, or coaching staff. We have to be unified."

Neymar and Richarlison were both on target in the second half as Brazil stayed perfect on the road to Qatar 2022.

Brazil – in Group B for the Copa America, alongside Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela – have won their opening five games in a World Cup qualifying campaign since 1970.

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