Barça finally returns to victory at Camp Nou. After three defeats in a row at home in the league and in the Europa League, the Catalans recovered by winning against Mallorca on Sunday, during the 34th day of La Liga (2-1). Memphis Depay (25th) and Sergio Busquets (54th) concretized the clear domination of the Blaugrana who nevertheless scared themselves at the end of the match with the reduction of the score of Antonio Raillo (79th). Xavi’s men held on this time and regained 2nd place in the standings at Sevilla FC with 66 points against 64.
Eager to react in front of their supporters after their setbacks against Frankfurt (2-3), Cadiz (0-1) and Rayo Vallecano (0-1), Barça quickly put their foot on the ball and immediately following provided a huge opportunity with a header from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, nicely repelled by Sergio Rico (6th). Cautious and waiting for the counterattacks, the Majorcans placed one on the left with a center-shot from Olivan which the clumsy Fer Nino failed to take advantage of against the wide-open goal (19th).
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Holder on the left of the Barcelona attack, Depay was superbly launched from afar by Jordi Alba and went to deceive the goalkeeper on loan from PSG with a shot from the right (1-0, 25th). This 11th goal from the former Lyonnais in La Liga logically gave his partners confidence, who however saw Gerard Piqué leave on injury (28th). Despite 73% possession in the first half and a clear superiority in the game, however, the Blaugrana failed to make the break before the break.
Faced with docile Majorcans, they were able to raise their voices even more on recovery and the active Gavi called on Rico (50th). If Ferran Torres was countered at the far post after a cross from Jordi Alba, the ball returned to Busquets who fired a perfect low left at the entrance to the truth zone to make the break (2-0, 54th ). Recently scored against Frankfurt, the Barcelona sentinel has scored his second goal in his last 5 matches, which is as many as in the previous 122.
Mallorca travels badly
Javier Aguirre, the visitors’ coach, launched Clément Grenier and Takefusa Kubo (59th) but his players were unable to revolt against Catalans who were collectively comfortable and turned towards attack. The available Aubameyang however missed the target on his recovery from the penalty spot (61st) just like Depay after a festival of dribbling in the axis (65th) then on a coiled shot (68th). Ferran Torres was also denied a goal for an offside by Aubameyang (73rd) before giving way to Ansu Fati, back after three months of unavailability (75th).
Mallorca came out of their camp again at the start of the last quarter of an hour and Salva Sévilla sent his long axial free kick into Ter Stegen’s area where Raillo tackled to reduce the score suddenly (2-1, 79th) . This surge of visitors, however, did not follow. The Balearic club suffers a 9th straight away loss in La Liga and remains 16th, 1 point above the red zone. Barça is slowly reassuring itself and is not very far from definitively validating its ticket for the next Champions League.
Real Madrid champion if…
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