Mallorca 1-0 Real Madrid: Player ratings as Asensio penalty saved in Los Blancos loss
Mallorca battled their way to a fourth consecutive 1-0 home win, edging past Real Madrid on Sunday afternoon thanks to an own goal from the visiting captain Nacho Fernandez.
Marco Asensio saw his second-half penalty saved as Real Madrid missed the chance to reduce Barcelona’s lead at La Liga’s summit, an advantage that the Catalans could extend to eight points after their game against Sevilla on Sunday night.
Before the match, Carlo Ancelotti had lamented the quick turnaround after Madrid's victory against Valencia on Thursday night. "Playing on Sunday at two o'clock in the afternoon doesn't feel right,” he sighed. The Italian's fears were realised as his understrength side began the early kick-off groggily.
Los Blancos were still in the changing room when Nacho turned the ball into his own net after 13 minutes. There was so little urgency from Dani Carvajal and Fede Valverde that Dani Rodriguez could gather his own misplaced pass on the left wing, belatedly whipping a cross into the box which narrowly evaded Vedat Muriqi but spooned off Nacho's head and into the net.
With an early advantage to defend, Mallorca retreated into a compact 5-4-1 shell, ceding possession to their illustrious visitors but barely a breath of space in their defensive third. Just as Ancelotti had predicted. “They’re a team that defend really well and can hit you on the counter,” he foresaw pre-game.
Snapping and snarling at the heels of Los Blancos, Mallorca limited Ancelotti's side to speculative efforts from range. Madrid didn't manage a single shot on target until the second half, when Marco Asensio took aim from 12 yards.
Vinicius Junior had been shackled and shoved throughout the opening hour against a team which has made no secret of their combative approach to defending the Brazilian. "Hit him! Hit him!" manager Javier Aguirre reportedly shouted in the reverse fixture. However, Mallorca's goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic took the message too literally, clattering into Vinicius as he lost a race for a ball into the box.
Up against his boyhood club, Asensio's stuttering spot kick was brilliantly pawed away by Rajkovic, igniting a roar louder than the goal celebration at Son Moix.
There were only four outfield players on Madrid's bench that had played in La Liga this season. Ancelotti tossed on all of them. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos emerged from the bench but couldn't tease apart the stubborn hosts, failing to shift Madrid out of their predictable and ponderous tempo.
Real Madrid player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Andriy Lunin - 5/10 - Standing in for the injured Thibaut Courtois, Lunin could hardly be blamed for failing to rebuff Nacho's looping own goal.
RB: Dani Carvajal - 2/10 - Incredibly, criminally, lacklustre in the opening stages of the game. Madrid's only source of width on the right but offered little going forward.
CB: Antonio Rudiger - 6/10 - Forceful and physical when defending on the deck, less assured up against an aerial threat.
CB: Nacho Fernandez - 4/10 - A little unfortunate to see the ball bounce off the back of his head and beyond Lunin.
LB: Eduardo Camavinga - 7/10 - Showed few signs of fulfilling an unnatural position before he was returned to midfield for the final 20 minutes.
CM: Fede Valverde - 2/10 - Amid blustery conditions, Valverde seemed intent on trying to beat Rajkovic with a swerving effort from range. It didn't work.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni - 6/10 - Sweeping up at the base of midfield, Tchouameni broke up a number of Mallorca's breakaways.
CM: Dani Ceballos - 5/10 - Peppering his performance with penetrative passes, Ceballos flitted in but mostly out of the game.
RW: Marco Asensio - 3/10 - On his return to Mallorca, Asensio departed to boos from the home ground and not many cheers from the away contingent after missing a penalty.
ST: Rodrygo - 5/10 - Buzzing around the fringes of the contest.
LW: Vinicius Junior - 6/10 - Boasting a personal feud with numerous members of Mallorca's lineup - and the manager - Vinicius was even more eager to take on his marker, getting more joy as the game wore on.
Luka Modric (64' for Valverde) - 4/10 - Brought on to find a way through the maze, Modric looked as lost as everyone else in white.
Mariano Diaz (71' for Asensio) - 5/10
Toni Kroos (71' for Tchouameni) - 5/10
David Alaba (71' for Ceballos) - 5/10
Carlo Ancelotti - 3/10 - Compared to his usual placid demeanour, Ancelotti was incandescent on the sidelines throughout the match. His side consistently lacked width, scarcely stretched their hosts and deservedly failed to pierce Mallorca's fierce resolve.