Real Madrid Grind Out Gritty Win, Inch Closer to LA Liga Title

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Real Madrid kept their march towards the La Liga title on track with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over RCD Mallorca at the Estadi Mallorca Son Moix.

This marked their second 1-0 win against the Copa del Rey finalists this season.

With crucial clashes against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and the upcoming El Clasico, Carlo Ancelotti rotated his squad, making six changes to the starting line-up.

The shuffled side looked disjointed in the final third despite controlling possession. It took 30 minutes for the first shot on target, with Mallorca’s Dani Rodríguez forcing a save from Andriy Lunin with a headed effort.

That chance seemed to spark Real into life, as Jude Bellingham struck the crossbar from 20 yards out after being set up by Aurelien Tchouameni. However, Los Blancos couldn’t further trouble Predrag Rajkovic before halftime.

Two minutes into the second half, Real broke the deadlock in fortuitous fashion. Tchouameni’s speculative 30-yard strike took a wicked deflection off Antonio Sanchez, wrong-footing Rajkovic as the ball nestled into the top corner.

Over the next 15 minutes, Real twice came close to doubling their lead, with Rajkovic denying Brahim Diaz either side of a goalline clearance by Nacho to deny Abdon Prats.

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Substitute Vinícius Junior was a constant menace, slaloming through the Mallorca defense before setting up Federico Valverde, whose effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Matija Nastasic.

Mallorca nearly equalized late on when Sergi Darder’s thunderous 30-yard half-volley was tipped over by the acrobatic Lunin.

Despite late pressure, Mallorca couldn’t find an equalizer, making it five straight league games with one goal or fewer. Real held on for a valuable three points at San Moix, something Barcelona and Girona failed to achieve this season.

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