Madrid the Real deal as Pirates swept ashore
Real Madrid maintained their perfect start to the La Liga (LL) campaign with a comeback 4-1 victory over Mallorca seeing them return to the league summit.
The Pirates had endured a rather more tumultuous opening to their season and knew the scale of the task they faced against a Madrid side that had only conceded once in their last five LL outings at the Santiago Bernabéu. You may have thought it would be the hosts who would be more comfortable under the scorching Madrid sun then, but Vedat Muriqi’s driving run saw Los Blancos hold their breath, with the Mallorca marksman drawing Thibaut Courtois into a smart save with just a minute on the clock.
The reigning European champions have only lost one of their last 30 home matches in the league and saw Rodrygo go close just before the drinks break. This didn’t faze a Mallorca side who appeared to relish their trip to the Spanish Capital and Muriqi would punish the hosts for not heeding his earlier warning, as he headed in to give his side a shock lead. Madrid would dust themselves down in typical fashion before responding with an equaliser the Galácticos would be proud of, with Federico Valverde’s lung-busting run culminating in a wicked strike that flew into the top corner.
The visitors' physical approach, which drew numerous cautions, paid dividends for much of the contest and despite Brazilian speedster Vinícius Júnior remaining a constant threat, Mallorca would have been satisfied with their exploits in a sun-sedated matchup. They even threatened to take the lead just after the hour mark but Antonio Sánchez fluffed his lines when found in space in the penalty area.
In the absence of Karim Benzema, it had appeared that Madrid lacked a cutting edge, but Vinícius’ shift into the penalty area saw him beat two defenders, before he lifted his effort over the onrushing Predrag Rajković with just under 20 minutes remaining.
In a frantic finale, Rodrygo appeared to be trying to outdo Valverde’s earlier goal of the season contender as his beautiful solo run and composed finish sent the Madrid stands wild. Antonio Rüdiger would then put the final nail into the Mallorca coffin with a sweet volley, sealing three crucial points that saw his side move above title rivals Barcelona.
Man of the Match: Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid)
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