Real Madrid 1 – Real Mallorca 0


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The planet’s most expensive football player and the top goal-scorer this season in La Liga, Portugal World Cup striker CRISTIANO RONALDO of Real Madrid, uses his body to shield the ball from Real Mallorca midfielder SERGIO TEJERA at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the capital city of Spain. (Sergio Perez/Reuters)
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LA LIGA
Matchday # 20
1/23/2010

1 – Real Madrid ——————— Benzema 61′
0 – Real Mallorca

A goal was more than an hour in coming and a last-minute save was required before all three points could be counted, but, REAL MADRID did manage to clip visiting REAL MALLORCA 1-0 and maintain the status quo four points behind FC Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Division.

The Balearic Islanders have struggled on their trips to the Spanish mainland in La Liga this season. Thus, regular stalwarts in the center of the park all season long for the capital city club, the World Cup pair of Spain’s XABI ALONSO and Germany’s MESUT OEZIL, were both left on the bench by Real Madrid’s Portuguese manager JOSE MOURINHO to start against Real Mallorca. Both, however, were sent on after the break after Los Blancos failed to get a single first half shot on target to test Israel international goalkeeper DUDU AOUATE.

Real Mallorca were, indeed, unfortunate to not take the lead early in only the 12th minute of play but visiting striker EMILIO NSUE had his effort turned back by the inside of the goalpost.

The arrival of the normal ball-winner and playmaker, respectively, did energize the Real Madrid attack to some extent and, finally, Los Blancos achieved a breakthrough just after the hour.

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A pair of World Cup defenders featuring on the backline for Real Madrid, Portugal’s RICARDO CARVALHO (left) and champion Spain’s SERGIO RAMOS, engage in an aerial dual with Real Mallorca’s former Spain U-21 international defender IVAN RAMIS (4) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Felix Ordonez/Reuters)
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Midfielder ESTEBAN GRANERO salvaged a point with the equalizing goal for Real Madrid against La Liga cellar-dwellers UD Almeria a week ago. Rewarded by Mourinho with a first start of the season in the Spanish Primera Division, the 23-year-old began the match-winning sequence with a ball to the feet of Los Blancos striker KARIM BENZEMA just outside the area. The France international, well-documented by the blog here, has not scored in a domestic league match since the 3-0 triumph over RCD Espanyol of Barcelona back on September 21.

After a quick turn, Benzema sent his left-footed shot low on target. Aouate, sensational in the season opening 0-0 draw with Real Madrid at the Estadio Iberostar in Palma last August, got a hand to the shot but could not steer it to safety. And so, the Frenchman found the back of the net for only the second time in the Spanish top flight all season.

With a matching four goals in both the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey, Benzema now ‘boasts’ 10 goals for Real Madrid this season.

Still, a late save in the dying moments was needed from Spain World Cup champion IKER CASILLAS. Real Mallorca’s Cameroon World Cup striker PIERRE WEBO broke in on goal from the right with an opportunity for a share of the spoils. But, Casillas stood his ground well to kick aside the shot and preserve the victory, albeit an unconvincing one, for Real Madrid.

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With Israel international DUDU AOUATE (13) keeping an eye of matters in front of his goal, Portuguese defender and Real Mallorca skipper NUNES (16) sticks in a foot to tackle the ball away from Real Madrid’s Brazil World Cup midfielder KAKA (8) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the capital city of Spain. (Paul White/AP)
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REAL MADRID : Casillas ; Marcelo, Carvalho, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos ; Gago (Xabi Alonso 46′), Granero (L. Diarra 64′), Kaka (Oezil 46′) ; Di Maria, Benzema, Ronaldo

REAL MALLORCA : Aouate ; Kevin, Ramis, Nunes, Edson ; Pereira, Tejera, Joao Victor, Castro ; Webo, Nsue

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(Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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(Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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(Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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(Felix Ordonez/Reuters)
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(Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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