Lamine Yamal fires Barcelona up to second with winner against Mallorca

By Sports Desk March 08, 2024

Teenager Lamine Yamal struck a fine winner as Barcelona beat Mallorca 1-0 at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys to move into second place in the LaLiga table.

The 16-year-old beat Predrag Rajkovic with a delightful curling effort in the 73rd minute, having seen the Mallorca goalkeeper tip his shot against the crossbar earlier in the second half.

That was among a number of impressive saves made by Rajkovic, which also included keeping out Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half penalty.

Having avoided a second successive 0-0 draw, Xavi’s men leapfrog Girona into second place, lying two points in front of them and five behind leaders Real Madrid ahead of those sides hosting Osasuna on Saturday and Celta Vigo on Sunday respectively.

Barca’s starting line-up showed four changes from last weekend’s goalless stalemate at Athletic Bilbao, with those coming out of the XI including midfielders Frenkie De Jong and Pedri after they were injured in that game, and Robert Lewandowski, who was on the bench.

The suspended Ronald Araujo was the other man dropping out of the team as 18-year-old Marc Guiu, Yamal, Joao Felix and Inigo Martinez came in.

The hosts had the chance to take the lead midway through the first half when Raphinha was brought down in the area by Jose Manuel Copete and the outcome after a VAR review was a penalty, but Gundogan saw Rajkovic push away his strike from 12 yards.

After Felix put an attempt wide, Barca saw their injury issues increase as Raphinha was forced to come off in the 37th minute, with Fermin Lopez taking his place.

The visitors then brought a save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen as he dealt with Manu Morlanes’ header, before Rajkovic did well to deny Gundogan and tipped over Lopez’s headed effort.

Rajkovic produced more good work shortly after the break to keep out a deflected Felix shot.

Vedat Muriqi nodded against the Barca crossbar moments later, albeit with the flag going up for offside, and Yamal then saw his shot touched against the woodwork at the other end by Rajkovic just prior to the hour mark.

Xavi introduced Lewandowski and Vitor Roque soon after, and the latter put a header of his own just over the bar in the 69th minute.

Lewandowski then provided the assist as Yamal broke the deadlock in superb fashion, collecting the Poland striker’s pass just outside the box, moving into it and sending a wonderful strike into the top corner.

Yamal then teed up a Lopez effort that was skewed wide late on as Barca claimed the three points.

Related items

  • No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad

    Dorival Junior has stuck with the same 26-man squad he provisionally selected for Brazil's 2024 Copa America campaign.

    Juventus' Bremer, Atalanta midfielder Ederson and Porto forward Pepe were all called up when CONMEBOL announced the squads were being expanded from 23 players to 26.

    The Brazilian had already had to make changes after Manchester City's Ederson was ruled out due to an injury sustained at the end of the Premier League season, with Rafael brought in to replace him.

    Lucas Paqueta also keeps his place after the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed he would be allowed to stay with the squad despite being charged by the England Football Association (FA) for allegedly breaching betting rules.

    Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Thiago Silva had already been left out of the provisional squad announced in May, while Richarlison and Neymar are both missing due to injury.

    Brazil are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will begin their campaign against Costa Rica on June 24 before also facing Paraguay and Colombia in Group D.

    Final Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Bento (Atletico PR), Rafael (Sao Paolo), Beraldo (PSG), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Guilherme Arana (Atletico MG), Wendell (Porto), Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Ederson (Atalanta), Joao Gomes (Wolves), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Endrick (Palmeiras), Evanilson (Porto), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Pepe (Porto), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

  • Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football

    Raphinha has responded to Kylian Mbappe's claims that the Euros are harder than the World Cup by reminding the Frenchman who beat them in the 2022 final.

    In an interview, Mbappe noted that France had not won the European Championships in 24 years, which is something he will be looking to change this year.

    That observation then led to him saying, "The Euros is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other, and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult."

    However, Brazil's Raphinha was not happy with the 25-year-old's comparison, pointing out that Argentina prevented them from winning the World Cup in 2022.

    "Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he lost a World Cup against a South American team," Raphinha said in a press conference ahead of the Copa America.

    The Barcelona winger also referenced other comments made by Mbappe from a couple of years ago. The new Real Madrid star implied World Cup qualification was easier in South America than in Europe, and suggested the football "wasn't as advanced".

    Raphinha added, "I would like to see the European teams playing in the South American qualifiers on the fields where we play. That's when I'd see if it's easy or hard."

    Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Costa Rica on June 24, while France will face Austria in their Euro 2024 opener on Monday.

  • Pavlovic signs two-year contract extension with Bayern Pavlovic signs two-year contract extension with Bayern

    Aleksandar Pavlovic has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Bayern Munich until 2029.

    Pavlovic's current contract was due to run out in 2027, but the club have chosen to trigger a two-year extension.

    The 20-year-old enjoyed an impressive breakout campaign in 2023-24, in which he made 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

    Pavlovic joined Bayern as a seven-year-old and was handed his debut for the first team in November last year when he came off the bench to assist Harry Kane in a 4-0 victory.

    His club form earned him a call-up to Germany's squad for Euro 2024, but he was forced to withdraw after coming down with tonsillitis days before the opener against Scotland.

    "Unfortunately, this tonsillitis has denied me my dream of playing in the European Championship on home turf, which is very disappointing – but I'm thrilled that my contract with FC Bayern has been extended until 2029," Pavlovic said.

    "It shows the club has trust in me, which I'm eager to repay. FC Bayern is my home. I'm proud, happy and grateful, want to win trophies with the team and continue my personal development."

    Pavlovic made 19 appearances in the Bundesliga this season, winning 15 of those, with the team scoring 54 goals in the process.

    In the 15 games that the midfielder missed in the league, Bayern won just eight times, conceding 14 more goals.  

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.