Real Madrid stunned by Mallorca in bad-tempered La Liga clash

Carlo Ancelotti's stars suffer damaging defeat as Marco Asensio misses penalty against former club

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Real Madrid's hopes of retaining La Liga were dealt a huge blow as the champions slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca on Sunday.

A frustrated Madrid struggled against Javier Aguirre's side, with Marco Asensio missing a penalty against his former club.

Nacho's 13th minute looping header into his own net separated the teams in a hard-fought clash, frequently slowed by some roughhouse tactics from the hosts.

Amid a constant battle between winger Vinicius Junior and Mallorca's players and supporters, the islanders held off Los Blancos to record an impressive victory.

Madrid were without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was hurt during the warm-up, along with the injured Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy.

Rodrygo started up front in place of Benzema, while Dani Ceballos and Fede Valverde were chosen by manager Carlo Ancelotti in midfield ahead of veterans Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

“It's a very painful defeat, but we expected it,” said the Italian coach.

“We prepared for this match, and it's a very difficult match. Overall we didn't play a bad game. The goal we conceded and the penalty kick affected us a lot.”

Ancelotti refused to accept any criticism over his starting XI, insisting he left out key players due to fitness concerns. “Wrong team? I couldn't use Kroos and Modric because Toni wasn't at 100 per cent after the last game and Luka needed to rest,” he added.

“The most important thing now is every game we have to play. Now we have the [Club] World Cup, which we want to win, and then we will fight again in La Liga until the end. It's not over yet, there are many matches.”

The match was heated from the start, largely due to historic bad blood between Vinicius and Mallorca.

Home captain Antonio Raillo has criticised the Brazilian winger on multiple occasions for lacking respect towards opponents and said he wouldn't hold him up as an example to his son.

Home fans at the Visit Mallorca Stadium whistled Vinicius when he was on the ball and chanted Raillo's name

“I think everything that's happening is not Vinicius' fault,” added Ancelotti. “All he wants is to play football. There is an atmosphere that excites the competitors who put pressure on him. I think they should focus on other things.”

Ancelotti was also frustrated his team were playing early after having faced Valencia on Thursday night, and his Madrid side started sluggishly.

Mallorca took an early lead when Nacho's attempted header sent Dani Rodriguez's inswinging cross from the left looping over Courtois's stand-in Andriy Lunin and dipping just under the crossbar.

The hosts shackled Vinicius well in the first half and reduced Madrid to shots from distance, with Antonio Rudiger and Valverde firing wildly off-target.

Vinicius was booked for stepping on Pablo Maffeo's foot, leaving the Brazilian incredulous after various fouls against him had not been punished with a card.

Ceballos protested vehemently to the officials as the teams went in at the break and was also booked, as temperatures rose in the Mallorcan sun.

Vinicius pulled at the Madrid badge on his shirt while looking at the home fans to agitate them further.

Early in the second half Raillo responded by offering Vinicius the Mallorca badge on his shirt to kiss.

Madrid had a golden chance to level when Mallorca goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic brought down Vinicius, but the Serbian denied Asensio from the spot.

The Madrid forward, from Mallorca, tried to find the bottom right corner but Rajkovic flung himself full-length to tip away his penalty.

David Alaba returned from injury off the bench and his cross was volleyed narrowly over by Mariano Diaz, on a rare outing for the Dominican Republic striker, as Madrid's desperation grew.

Rudiger sent a dipping header wide late in stoppage time as Madrid's last chance slipped away.

Madrid will have to put defeat behind them quickly as they travel to Morocco midweek to take part in the Club World Cup.

Updated: February 05, 2023, 3:59 PM