La Liga leaders Real Madrid extend unbeaten run

Antonio Rudiger of Real Madrid CF celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with teammate Rodrygo Goes during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Real Madrid CF and RCD Mallorca at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on January 03, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. 

La Liga leaders Real Madrid gained a hard-fought win over Mallorca thanks to Antonio Rudiger's late header.

Mallorca hit the woodwork twice as Antonio Sanchez's header bounced off the underside of the crossbar on to the goalline, with Samu Costa also hitting the post for the visitors.

Those misses proved costly as Rudiger headed in from Luka Modric's fine left-wing corner in the 78th minute.

Real are now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions.

The result had briefly taken Real three points clear at the top, before second-placed Girona moved back level on points thanks to a 91st-minute winning goal from Ivan Martin as they beat third-placed Atletico Madrid 4-3.

Both Real and Girona have 48 points from 19 matches at the halfway point in the Spanish league season, with the Madrid side top thanks to a better goal difference.

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