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Real Madrid 4-1 RCD Mallorca: Match Review

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid hosted RCD Mallorca at Santiago Bernabeu on Matchday 5 of La Liga. Carlo Ancelotti’s men had not dropped points so far this season and looked to keep their streak running against the thirteenth-placed side.

Eder Militao and Karim Benzema were unavailable on the day and were replaced by Antonio Rudiger and Eden Hazard respectively. Additionally, there were changes in midfield as Dani Ceballos and Federico Valverde received starts.

Mallorca started strong on the afternoon, very similar to how Celtic pushed against Los Blancos early in the game midweek. The visitors had two chances in the opening five minutes but Vedat Muriqi could not beat Thibaut Courtois.

Ancelotti’s side soon got on the front foot and began their relentless attacks. Vinicius Junior came close to scoring in the tenth minute before Kroos’ shot went close four minutes later.

The hosts produced a well-orchestrated attack in the 26th minute to find Rodrygo at the edge of the box. The youngster fired at goal but his effort went straight to the goalkeeper. A minute later, Lucas Vazquez found Ceballos in the box with his cross but the chance came to nothing.

Completely against the tide of the game, Mallorca scored in the 35th minute and took the lead. The visitors were awarded a free-kick after a rash challenge by Federico Valverde which Kang-in Lee perfectly delivered to the far post. Rising above those around him, Muriqi headed the ball past the Belgian shot-stopper.

One falls at a shortage of words to describe the equaliser scored late in the first half. Valverde received the ball in the Real Madrid half, ran across the field to the final third, turned past two defenders and fired it from outside the box into the top left corner.

Vinicius had a glorious chance to give his team the lead after the restart when Hazard selflessly passed it to him from in front of the goal. However, the youngster could not finish the chance.

Antonio Sanchez missed a sitter for Mallorca in the 65th minute as he failed to put the ball into an open net.

Los Blancos got their deserved lead in the 71st minute through some Brazilian magic. Rodrygo Goes did well to evade three defenders at the edge of the box before setting Vinicius free in front of the goal. With only the goalkeeper to beat, the protege made no mistake.

If his assist to Vinicius was not good enough, Rodrygo pulled off a sublime goal of his own to put the game beyond the visitors’ reach. In what was a completely solo goal, he took the ball into the Mallorca box and dribbled past the defence before dispatching it into the goal.

Antonio Rudiger then made it four for the La Liga champions as he got onto the end of a set-piece in the 92nd minute. The goal was checked for offside but stood.

The game ended 4-1 in the Merengues’ favour and sees them return to the top of the league standings. They next play midweek against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League.

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Features

Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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