LALIGA: Real Madrid suffer narrow 1-0 defeat to Mallorca ahead of Club World Cup
Marco Asensio missed a penalty kick and depleted Real Madrid lost 1-0 at Mallorca in the Spanish league on Sunday in its last match before traveling to Morocco to play at the Club World Cup.
The draw gives Barcelona the chance to increase its lead at the top when it hosts struggling Sevilla later Sunday. The Catalan club will enter the match at Camp Nou with a five-point lead over second-place Madrid.
“We already expected a very tough match. We had our chances but couldn’t take advantage of them,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
Ancelotti couldn’t count on several injured starters, including striker Karim Benzema, defender Éder Militão and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was dropped from the squad at the last minute after getting injured during the warmup. Ancelotti also rested midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who came on in the second half.
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Asensio missed a chance to equalize when his 60th-minute penalty kick was saved by Mallorca goalkeeper Pedrag Rajkovic after Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior had been fouled. Madrid’s last chance was a header by Antonio Rüdiger that went narrowly wide deep into stoppage time.
The hosts got on the board with an own-goal by Nacho Fernández, who was replacing Militão in defense. Nacho went for a high cross and deflected the ball into his own net over goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who started in place of Courtois.
“I hit the ball with my head and unfortunately it went into the top corner,” Nacho said.
“It was a complicated match, against a team that is having a good season. It’s a pity that we let three points get away.”
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Madrid was coming off a win against Valencia after being held by Real Sociedad. Its opponent in the semifinals of the Club World Cup on Wednesday will be Egyptian club Al Ahly.
It was the second win in three league matches for Mallorca, and the fourth straight at home. It remained midtable with 28 points from 20 matches.
“It’s a good result, moves us further away from the relegation zone,” Mallorca’s Mexican coach Javier Aguirre said.
“But there are many matches left, we can’t relax.”
Vinícius was shown a yellow card and will be suspended for Madrid’s next league game against last-place Elche.
In other league games Sunday, third-place Real Sociedad hosts Valladolid and relegation-threatened Valencia visits Girona. Sociedad can move within three points of Madrid with a victory.