Real Madrid 4 - 1 Mallorca (Valverde, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Rudiger; Muriqi). Here’s our quick reaction upon the final whistle. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, tactical break downs, post-game quotes, and a ton more.
It was tight, and it was predicted: Mallorca came into tonight’s game at the Bernabeu having conceded just three goals in the opening four games, and they don’t boast a ton of creative players. Thus, a low block was inevitable. Javier Aguirre’s men barricaded the flanks with five at the back and with Pablo Maffeo and Jaume Costa getting plenty of help to congest the wings. They rotated quickly, and resorted Carlo Ancelotti’s men to long distance shooting.
In the preview podcast for this game, Jose Perez and I discussed what it would take for Mallorca to steal a result at the Bernabeu today, and it involved, primarily, Aguirre’s men being efficient in clogging space in their deep block, and relying on hitting Vedat Muriqi (a complete tower who’s won more aerials than anyone in La Liga this year) on crosses and set pieces. That, exactly, happened:
But Mallorca didn’t threaten much outside of that. Thankfully, Real Madrid didn’t concede many set-pieces, nor did they allow Kang-in Lee to have space to do anything in transition.
But Aguirre’s men didn’t necessarily need much to steal a result, as their defense remained air tight. Their main problem was containing individual brilliance.
Just before half-time, Fede Valverde carried the ball up the field (is there a better ball-carrier on earth right now?) and slung his left foot through the ball to finish top corner, far post. This is video game stuff:
VALVERDE WHAT HAVE YOU JUST DONE!!! pic.twitter.com/81mVC4zn6n— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 11, 2022
The second half started largely the same as the first: Real Madrid circulated possession but struggled to break through, and nearly conceded after a defensive break down on a throw in.
But as the half wore on, Real Madrid kept chipping away and Mallorca began to wear down (copy and paste this analysis to every Real Madrid game this season). Vinicius and Rodrygo combined beautifully for the game-winner, and from there, Mallorca finally had to open up their defense and got battered away for two more goals:
Beautiful team goal from Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/55CmU1rxb9— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 11, 2022
Antonio Rudiger capped the second half surge with a goal as he met a set-piece at the far post to make it 4 - 1 in the 93rd minute.
There’s a lot to break down tonight, including the starting line-up, subs, individual performances, key matchups, post-game quotes, tactical battles, and a ton more. We’ll do this on tonight’s podcast, as well as on the site.