Mallorca 1-0 Real Madrid: Nacho own goal condemns defending champions to a shock defeat

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid, referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez, Daniel Rodriguez of Real Mallorca, Dani Carvajal of Real Madrid, Antonio Raillo of Real Mallorca, Rodrygo Silva de Goes of Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez of Real Madrid argument during the La Liga Santander match between Real Mallorca v Real Madrid at the Visit Mallorca Estadi on February 5, 2023 in Palma de Mallorca Spain.

Problems mounted up for Real Madrid just two weeks before they face Liverpool in the Champions League as they went down 1-0 away at Mallorca.

The defeat hits their chances of catching leaders Barcelona but there was bad news beyond the result with Thibaut Courtois missing the game after injuring his abductor muscle in the warm-up.

They were already without Eder Militao and Karim Benzema and it was Militao’s replacement Nacho who scored an own-goal past stand-in keeper Andriy Lunin for the only goal of the game.

Madrid won a second half spot kick but with no Benzema on the pitch Marco Asensio stood forward to take the kick but had his shot saved.

Mallorca took the lead on 13 minutes when Nacho headed past stand-in keeper Andriy Lunin. Pedrag Rajkovic kicked long and Vedat Muriqi flicked the ball on to Dani Rodriguez. 

He advanced down the left and when the ball was lost and then came back to him he tried to pick out Muriqi who had by now arrived in the penalty area.

The big Kosovo striker is so good in the air it looked as if it was his clever back header that had looped over Lunin but the reply showed it was his marker Nacho who got the touch that fooled the keeper.

Madrid labored to get back into the game but there was some bad blood from previous meetings between these two teams and Madrid seemed to want to make a scrap of it, which suited robust Mallorca fine.

Carlo Ancelotti could be seen in conversation with referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez at the restart indicating with his fingers how home side fouls had gone unpunished. 

But Madrid had given as good as they had got with strong challenges on Pablo Maffeo from both Eduardo Camavinga and Aureliano Tchouameni. 

It was Maffeo, who had scythed down Vinicius in a previous game, who was marking the Brazilian and he kept him quiet in the first half with the frustrated forward booked and now due to miss Real Madrid’s next game.

In the second period Vinicius was fouled by Mallorca keeper Rajkovic and Madrid looked to have a way back into the game. With no Benzema it was Mallorca born Marco Asensio who stepped up but Rajkovic dived the right way and saved the spot kick.

Things were desperate now and it was time for Luka Modric to try to put things right with Ancelotti turning to his bench. 

There was even a chance for Mariano Diaz who has not started a game since last May. He hasn’t scored since then either and that record stayed in tact as Madrid failed to penetrate a team that had won their previous three home games 1-0.

There was more bad feeling as Mallorca played the clock down with Ancelotti having words with Maffeo after he had clashed once more with Vinicius. 

It had been a frustrating afternoon and a there was no late touch of class to salvage a point – Modric’s cross was headed wide by Mariano. Rudiger also missed a late chance from Toni Kroos’ cross.

Madrid now travel to Morocco for the World Club Cup. The Champions League meeting with Liverpool and a cup semi-final with Barcelona are both now on the horizon not to mention the rescue operation they need to carry out on their title charge.

Ancelotti will hope Courtois’ injury doesn’t keep him out for long. And that Benzema and Militao return before more points slip away from them in La Liga.

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