Match ends, Real Madrid 1, Mallorca 0.
Real Madrid 1-0 Mallorca: Antonio Rudiger scores late winner for La Liga leaders3 January 2024
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, now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, are three points clear.
However, second-placed Girona will return level on points with Carlo Ancelotti's side if they beat third-placed Atletico Madrid in the late game on Wednesday.
Rare Rudiger goal proves the difference
This was the first game since Ancelotti ended speculation linking him with the Brazil national team as he extended his Real contract, committing him to the club until at least 2026.
Ancelotti was boosted by the return of Vinicius Jr, playing his first club game in almost two months following a hamstring injury sustained on Brazil duty in November.
Vinicius twice had efforts saved by Predrag Rajkovic - one attempt from a tight angle and another strike from outside the penalty area.
But Mallorca, 14th in the table, twice hit the frame of the goal as they looked to gain a shock win.
England's Jude Bellingham is the top scorer in La Liga this season with 13 goals, but his best attempt was a diving header from Modric's cross which away goalkeeper Rajkovic jumped to save.
After Mallorca hit the post, Real dominated as they pushed for a fourth successive win in all competitions and their ninth in their past 10 games.
They should have gone ahead when Rodrygo's shot was parried into Brahim Diaz's path but the substitute hit the post with a diving header when faced with an unguarded goal only a few yards out.
But Diaz's blushes were spared thanks to Rudiger's goal, his first in La Liga since 11 September 2022 when he scored in a 4-1 victory over Mallorca.
- 13LuninBooked at 45mins
- 10ModricSubstituted forCeballosat 86'minutes
- 8KroosSubstituted forJoseluat 67'minutes
- 11RodrygoBooked at 35minsSubstituted forVázquezat 86'minutes
- 7Vinícius JúniorSubstituted forDíazat 60'minutes
- 25Arrizabalaga Revuelta
- 15MaffeoBooked at 70mins
- 2NastasicBooked at 61mins
- 4Van der HeydenBooked at 1minsSubstituted forLatorre Gruesoat 45'minutes
- 18SánchezSubstituted forNdiayeat 83'minutes
- 8MorlanesSubstituted forMascarellat 73'minutes
- 12de Almeida Costa
- 14RodríguezSubstituted forDarderat 73'minutes
- 17LarinSubstituted forPratsat 73'minutes
- 3Latorre Grueso
- 6Arias Copete
- Alejandro Muñiz Ruiz
Second Half ends, Real Madrid 1, Mallorca 0.
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67867732?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA