Real Madrid continued their inch-perfect start to the league season when they swept aside RCD Mallorca 4-1 at Santiago Bernabeu this past weekend.
The reigning Spanish champions had started the game slowly, drawing 1-1 at half-time. But they gained momentum thanks to a brilliant equaliser from Federico Valverde, before a strong second-half showing that saw them bag three goals.
One of the protagonists behind their improved performance in the second half was Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian international effortlessly beat Mallorca’s deep block, eventually scoring the winner in the 72nd minute.
However, apart from scoring the all-important goal, Vinicius was not afraid to showboat either, showcasing his skills on the ball and probing the opposition defenders at every chance.
That said, the Brazilian was subjected to intense pressure due to his showboating skills. According to Javier Herraez, the RCD Mallorca bench was taunting the winger, chanting: “Party boy, party boy”.
The bench also urged Mallorca defenders to put up strong challenges on Vinicius, shouting: “Break him, break him”.
However, that did not deter Vinicius from causing all sorts of menace to the opposition defenders. His sheer pace and trickery out wide made life difficult for the Mallorca backline, who ultimately had to succumb to pressure and give away three late goals.
In the end, Real Madrid were able to secure a comfortable 4-1 victory, which helped them maintain their hundred percent winning record in La Liga. Thanks to the win, Real Madrid have also maintained their two-point lead over FC Barcelona at the top of the league table.
Up next, Real Madrid are set to welcome RB Leipzig on the second matchday in the UEFA Champions League. The reigning European champions had started the season with a 3-0 win over Celtic, and another win could go a long way in helping them gain an early headstart.
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.