Mallorca Dethrone Real Madrid As La Liga Leaders
Real Mallorca handed Real Madrid their first league defeat of the season on Saturday, to leave Barcelona who beat Eibar 3-0 earlier on top of La Liga.
Junior Lago scored what will be the only goal of the game just seven minutes in with the much-criticised Thibaut Courtois failing to stop the first shot sent his way.
Newly-promoted Real Mallorca held on after that, putting on a disciplined defensive display to the delight of their fans at the Estadi de Son Moix in Palma.
The victory lifted them out of the relegation zone and marks a step back for Zinedine Zidane whose men have failed to convince in the league and face a battle to avert disaster in the Champions League after failing to win their first two group clashes.
Real Madrid had come into the game deprived by injury of several first-team members. Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal, and Raphael Varane were unavailable and Eden Hazard was left out after his wife gave birth.
In their absence, Zidane fielded an attack-minded team with Isco and James Rodriguez getting the nod in midfield, while Vinicius Junior and Luka Jovic joined Karim Benzema upfront.
Eder Militao partnered Captain Sergio Ramos at centre-back, while Alvaro Odriozola replaced Carvajal at right-back.
Fans would have expected Real to easily pick up all three points, Lago Junior’s beautiful early strike put Mallorca on course for victory.
Odriozola, in particular, had a poor game being partly at fault for the first goal and picking up a second yellow card late in the second half to leave a Real Madrid side already short of ideas with a mountain to climb.
Not only did they fail to accomplish the task, but they were also fortunate not to concede a second goal as they left themselves exposed on occasions as they pushed for an equaliser.
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