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Real Madrid Cement Top Spot With Late Winner


MADRID, SPAIN – JANUARY 03: Antonio Rudiger of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring their sides first goal with his teammate Federico Valverde of Real Madrid during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Real Madrid CF and RCD Mallorca at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 03, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Alvaro Medranda/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

LaLiga leaders Real Madrid opened the new year on a winning note after defeating Real Mallorca 1-0 on Wednesday night.

LaLiga

Result: Real Madrid 1-0 Real Mallorca

Date: 03 January 2023

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Vincius Junior returned to the line-up in place of Brahim Diaz, while  Aurélien Tchouaméni was deployed at centre-back as Nacho missed out through suspension.

Ancelotti’s charges dominated in the early exchanges as they went in search of an early goal, with Jude Bellingham and Vinicius forcing a couple good saves out of  Predrag Rajkovic.

It was one-way traffic in the first half as Mallorca were pinned in their own half, but the hosts were restricted to efforts from distance a Vinicius was denied by a fine save from  Rajkovic in the 35th minute.

However, Mallorca nearly broke the deadlock three minutes before the interval as Antonio Sanchez got on the end of Dani Rodriguez’s cross but saw his header crash against the woodwork.

The woodwork came to Los Blancos’ rescue for a second time ten minutes into the second half as a neat passing move ended with Mallorca’s  Samu Costa unleashing a low strike that hit the upright.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti responded with two changes for the  home side as Vinicius made way for Brahim Diaz, while striker Joselu was introduced for Toni Kroos with 25 minutes left in the half.

Diaz almost made the perfect impact off the bench after getting on the end of Rodrygo’s cross but the Spaniard could only direct his header onto the upright with the goal at his mercy.

However, Mallorca’s resistance eventually broke in the 78th minute when Luka Modric’s corner found Rudiger, who sent a glancing header into the top corner to seal maximum points on the night.

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