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Madrid tighten grip on top spot with win in Mallorca

MATCH REPORT. 14/03/2022. Photographer: Antonio Villalba

A second-half Benzema brace and Vini Jr. strike handed the Whites victory and extends the lead at the summit to 10 points.

Real Madrid emerged victorious in the away assignment against Mallorca as the LaLiga table-toppers extended their lead on second place to 10 points with 10 matchdays remaining. Our team fashioned the better chances and had the lion’s share of possession right from the get-go. Madrid’s first forward forays came down the flanks through Rodrygo and Vini Jr. and with just five minutes played, Karim Benzema had the first big chance of the night, only for Sergio Rico to palm the ball behind after the Frenchman found himself through on goal. Ferland Mendy got on the end of the resulting corner, but the hosts’ goalkeeper was again equal to the effort.

Mallorca woke from their stupor in the 10th minute, when Muriqi unleashed a first-time effort following a cross from the left. Before the game was half an hour old, an off-balance Toni Kroos unleashed a shot from range and shortly afterwards, Maffeo crashed into Vini Jr.’s knee but the challenge was not adjudged to have been a foul. The contest had now become an end-to-end affair. The next major chance saw Nacho make a vital interception with a rather unorthodox leap to nick the ball away from Ángel just as he was about to pull the trigger and the move ended with Maffeo’s effort striking the woodwork. Madrid hit back through Vini Jr., who collected a sublime Benzema backheel inside the box, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked by a Mallorca defender.

Video.0-3: Madrid tighten grip on top spot with win in Mallorca

The Brazilian was continually running in behind and getting away from his man, and in the last move of the first half, he played it back to Alaba with a backheel, but his shot was off target. Real Madrid took the lead 10 minutes after the break after Valverde pressed Baba well, Benzema picked up the ball on the edge of the area and played in Vini Jr., who expertly finished with his left foot, sliding the ball under Sergio Rico. Ancelotti then shuffled the pack, bringing on Modrić and Camavinga in midfield, Carvajal at the back, and Asensio up front in place of Rodrygo, who picked up an injury after another challenge.
 
Benzema's brace
Mallorca had to commit men forward and as a result left more space at the back, and the Whites took full advantage of that. Vini Jr. received the ball with his back to goal in his own half with 76 minutes played, drew in three opponents before playing through to Benzema to set up the counter-attack. The Frenchman returned the ball to him in the area before B. Oliván brought down the Brazilian. Benzema stepped up to convert the penalty to make it 2-0 to the visitors, and just five minutes later he got his second of the night to kill off the match. Kroos took a short corner to Marcelo, on in place of Mendy, who had to make way due to an injury, and the Brazilian whipped in one of his crosses which Benzema met to head home. Two minutes later he also left the pitch in pain. An eventful end to the match which sees Real Madrid increase their lead at the top.

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The referee

Sánchez Martínez (Murcian Committee), assisted by Cabañero Martínez and Gallego García. Martínez Montalbán was the fourth official and Medié Jiménez (Catalan Committee) was the VAR.

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