Real Madrid return to top of La Liga after comeback win over Mallorca

Toni Kroos of Real Madrid, Vedat Muriqi of Real Mallorca during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid v Real Mallorca at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 11, 2022 in Madrid Spain.

Real Madrid returned to the top of La Liga after a 4-1 victory over Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

The visitors took a shock lead through Vedat Muriqi in the 35th minute but Real levelled just before the break thanks to a fabulous solo effort from Federico Valverde.

But Los Blancos were showing little sign of scoring again until a fine Vinicius Junior finish in the 72nd minute. Rodrygo made itthree with a minute to go before defender Antonio Rudiger completed the scoring in injury time.

The result makes if five wins out of five for the reigning champions who leapfrogged old rivals Barcelona – who thrashed Cadiz 4-0 on P – at the top of the table.

“We knew they'd cause us issues, they defended well and scored from a set piece and it was difficult for us to gain a foothold,” Real manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

“But we kept cool heads and had enough quality to go ahead in the game. We didn't play in the best way that we could've in the first half, but we were much better in the second.”

Real were without injured striker Karim Benzema as Ancelotti rotated his squad ahead of their Champions League match at home to German side RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

Luka Modric and Eduardo Camavinga were among the regulars who started on the bench.

Real initially struggled to gain a foothold in the game and were clearly missing talisman Benzema in attack throughout a below-par first half.

Muqiri, who was denied by Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois inside the opening 40 seconds, headed in unmarked at the back post after 35 minutes and it appeared the champions would go in trailing at the break for the first time this campaign.

That changed, however, in added time at the end of the half when Valverde ran the length of the pitch before firing home a left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

After the break, the hosts dominated possession, but were fortunate when Antonio Sanchez fired wide from six yards out with the goal at his mercy on a rare foray forward from the Balearic Islanders.

And Mallorca would be made to pay for the miss when Rodrygo set off on a mazy run before supplying Vinicius Junior who scored for a fifth consecutive game to put Ancelotti’s side in front.

Rodrygo was then on the scoresheet himself after producing a lovely piece of skill to carve open the Mallorca defence before firing past a helpless Predrag Rajkovic.

And gloss was put on the scoreline when summer signing Rudiger scored his first goal for the club with a close-range finish.

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