Barcelona, Spain, May 1 (EFE).- After enduring two consecutive defeats at the hands of Cadiz and Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona – in another unusual performance – recovered itself and added three vital ranking points to its La Liga tally on Sunday, downing Mallorca 2-1.
A goal by Memphis Depay in the first half and another by Sergio Busquets in the second were the recipe for the win, although Antonio Raillo got a consolation goal for the visitors late in the match.
The victory ensured that Barca reclaimed the No. 2 spot in the table from Sevilla, now two points in back of the Catalans. Barcelona is also five points ahead of Atletico de Madrid, but far behind Real Madrid, who has secured this year’s trophy.
Dembele was not on the pitch at first for Barca at Camp Nou before the 62,789 spectators, coming in only in the 75th minute, but manager Xavi Hernandez was able to shepherd the squad to victory with a lineup that hasn’t often worked.
Mallorca, coached by Javier Aguirre, was in good form and posing a significant threat during the first half hour of play, with the coach fielding a five-man defensive line, each of whom knew exactly what to do with the ball when they were able to pry it away from the Catalan squad.
Barcelona got on the board in the 25th minute when Memphis made a tricky dash to collect a Jordi Alba pass and then fired a great shot into the lower corner for his 11th league goal since moving to Barca from Lyon last year.
The home team went two points ahead in the 54th minute when Sergio lasered in a low ball from the edge of the box, his third tally of the season in all competitions.
The fans in the stands thought their team had made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute, but an offside call ruled out Ferran Torres’ hit after a fight for the ball at point-blank range.
With the loss, Mallorca is just one point ahead of Granada, in the No. 18 spot after a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo, and eyeing with dismay the chances they may slide below the relegation threshold.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves (Lenglet, min.89), Pique (Eric Garcia, min.28), Araujo, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong; Memphis, Ferran (Ansu Fati, min.75) and Aubameyang (Dembele, min.75).
Mallorca: Sergio Rico; Maffeo, Valjent, Russo, Raillo, Olivan; Dani Rodriguez (Grenier, min.59), Battaglia (Kang-In-Lee, min.69), Antonio Sanchez (Salva Sevilla, min.69); Fer Niño (Kubo, min.59) and Angel (Hoppe, min.89).