Real Madrid stay top of LaLiga with 2-0 win over Mallorca

Madrid, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid beat Mallorca 2-0 here Wednesday to remain first in LaLiga with seven matches left in the coronavirus-disrupted season.

The Blancos climbed to 68 points, the same as second-place Barcelona, but lead the league by virtue of their head-to-head record against the Blaugrana.

Newly promoted Mallorca, with 26 points, are 18th and 3 points from safety.

Three games into the return of LaLiga, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane continued to experiment with the lineup and formation, opting to deploy a quartet of strikers – Gareth Bale, Vinicius Junior, Eden Hazard – in a nominal 4-4-2.

Benzema and Bale forced visiting goalkeeper Manolo Reina to make a pair of good stops in quick succession in the fifth minute.

But Real Madrid’s approach created openings that a Mallorca fighting to stay up were quick to exploit.

Take Kubo, the 19-year-old Japanese international who came to Mallorca on loan from Real Madrid, led an attack that resulted in a chance for Iddrisu Baba in the 10th minute and another for Lago Junior just two minutes later.

After failing to score in the 16th minute on a pass from Hazard, Vinicius put the Blancos up 1-0 three minutes later with an assist from Luka Modric.

The Afro-Brazilian striker used the occasion of the goal celebration to raise his fist in the air to protest racism.

Vinicius had an opportunity for a second in the 23rd minute on a great pass from Benzema, but his shot hit the cross-bar and the score remained 1-0 at the break.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Blancos won a free kick deep in Mallorca territory and Sergio Ramos produced a brilliant shot to double the advantage to 2-0.

Ramos, who left last weekend’s game against Real Sociedad after suffering a blow to his left knee, became the highest-scoring defender in the history of LaLiga with 69 goals.

Mallorca battled on. Kubo sent the ball into the side-netting at the hour mark and Baba fired over the cross-bar in the 70th minute.

With minutes left in regulation, Baba left in favor of Luka Romero, who made history as the youngest player ever to make an appearance in a LaLiga match.

Romero, a Mexican-born Argentine national, is 15 years and 229 days old. The record he broke goes back to 1939, when Francisco Bao Rodriguez, a.k.a. “Sanson,” debuted for Celta at the age of 15 years, 255 days. EFE


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