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HomeLa LigaA long-range strike is enough for Real - Bellingham just rattles the...

A long-range strike is enough for Real – Bellingham just rattles the crossbar

Spain’s record champions march inexorably towards title number 36: Real Madrid deservedly – albeit narrowly – won their away game in Mallorca on Saturday 1-0. Carlo Ancelotti divided up the minutes “fairly” with a view to next Wednesday.

24th win in 31 games, underpinned their reputation as the best away team in the league (11/4/1) and saved energy for the eagerly awaited Champions League quarter-final second leg at Manchester City. The trip to the vacation island of Mallorca paid off for Real Madrid.

Even though the Whites found the first half extremely difficult. Mallorca did not allow the game to flow and kept Real on their toes in their own half. As a result, the hosts had the first chance after 31 minutes – but Lunin saved Raillo’s header. Almost on the counter-attack, Bellingham was just centimetres away from scoring his 17th league goal, his powerful shot from outside the penalty area just hitting the crossbar (33′).

The Blancos showed a completely different face after the break. Bellingham & Co. tightened the reins, which Tchouameni exploited to score the golden goal: After defending too short, the Frenchman took aim from around 25 meters, the slightly deflected long-range strike smashed into the right-hand corner (48′).

The game really picked up pace in the final half hour. One minute after Joker Abdon had sniffed at an equalizer (60′), Brahim Diaz was presented with a huge chance to put the game beyond doubt. However, the Spaniard did not get his feet in front of Rajkovic – and only shot at the opposing keeper (61′).

Ex-Schalker Nastasic clears on the line

Real were now attacking more and more often, but lacked the finishing touch. For the final half-hour, Carlo Ancelotti gave Bellingham, among others, a break, which Vinicius Junior and Camavinga had already received. Vinicius Junior set up Fede Valverde, whose shot was cleared off the line by former Schalke player Nastasic (72′).

Two minutes later, the visitors were almost punished for their careless exploitation of chances, but Lunin was on hand to save Darder’s long-range shot (74′). The final quarter of an hour was full of tension, which culminated in the very last scene: After a long ball, Muriqi tackled keeper Lunin, who dropped the ball – but somehow prevented it from going in (90.+5).

So it remained a narrow, albeit highly deserved 1-0 win for the Whites, who now turn their full focus to Manchester. ManCity won their dress rehearsal furiously with 5:1 against promoted Luton Town.

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