Fans of the European club football might be witnessing a changing of the guard in Spanish La Liga leaders, after provisional first-placed team Barcelona have been forced to a 2-2 draw by RCD Mallorca at the latter’s home of Estadi Mallorca Son Moix. The home side, who were down to ten men during the match, led twice in the game but Xavi’s Barca were determined not to let their unbeaten start in 2023/2024 to slip away, fighting back on both occasions for the current Spanish La Liga leaders on their way of salvaging a point in Matchday 7 of this season’s Spanish top-flight football.
RCD Mallorca Led Twice in the Game
Key absentees for the Spanish La Liga leaders were midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, who are still sidelined due to ankle issues and knee problems respectively, prompting Xavi to make five changes to his Barca side that beat Celta Vigo last time around while RCD Mallorca, who were defeated by second-place Girona last Matchday, witnessed four replacements in their starting lineup against the mighty Barca.
The home side got their breakthrough early in the eighth minute. A mistake from Barca’s goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen saw RCD Mallorca capitalise an advantage on it via Antonio Sánchez. The 26-year-old Spain player’s initial cross was blocked by the visitors’ defence, but the ball fell to his feet for another delivery, which he found Kosovan striker Vedat Muriqi with a headed pass to draw the first blood. Four minutes before the first added time was given, Brazilian forward Raphinha received the ball just outside the penalty box, before he controlled it and fired a long-ranged shot past Predrag Rajković.
Just when everyone thought things will be all square in the second period, the home side found another goal to cut short the Spanish La Liga leaders’ happiness in the first half. In the third minute of the added time, shot stopper Rajković’s goal kick was flicked on by Muriqi, and his strike partner Abdón Prats carefully placed the ball into the back of the net over Ronald Araújo and ter Stegen. RCD Mallorca enjoyed their 2-1 lead over the Spanish La Liga leaders for a good half an hour, until substitute Fermín López equalised for Barcelona. The 20-year-old youngster had to thank Raphinha’s cutback for his first ever goal in Barcelona jerseys.
Fulltime: Mallorca 2-2 Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/TOKWi7IvqZ
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) September 26, 2023
Barca’s Now Six Wins and Two Draws in 2023/2024
Despite the home side had a player sent off in the final stage of the game, the Spanish La Liga leaders did not have sufficient time to find the winning goal, meaning Xavi’s Barcelona has ended its six-game winning streak in all competitions thus far in the 2023/2024.
Speaking for the draw against RCD Mallorca at the latter’s home, current Barca manager and former player Xavi expressed his disappointments over the team’s performance, especially at the back. The 43-year-old said: “The problem was our defensive errors, these are improper mistakes that shouldn’t happen, especially in this type of tight, intense match. We conceded too much. I think we had the game under control after the equaliser, we had a chance to make it 2-1 several times. We didn’t win today because of our mistakes.” Xavi also added that his side should have been given a penalty when teenage sensation Lamine Yamal was fouled in the box after the hour mark.
Elsewhere in England, Manchester United were able to subdue Crystal Palace in the first match of their title defence for the EFL Cup. Alejandro Garnacho, Casemiro and Anthony Martial were the scorers in the Red Devils’ 3-0 win over fellow English Premier League side. Check out this article for the full match details right away!
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Girona or Real Madrid to Overtake Barca as the New Spanish La Liga Leaders Tonight?
After leaving Mallorca with a single point, the rest of the pack will have a chance to close on the gap with Barcelona or even overtake them as the new Spanish La Liga leaders. In light of Barca’s draw, both second- and third-placed teams in the table Girona and Barca’s archrivals Real Madrid will be playing against Villarreal CF and Las Palmas respectively tonight for an opportunity to become the latest Spanish La Liga leaders after Matchday 7 in 2023/2024. As for Xavi’s side, they will host Sevilla at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys for their next league fixture on Friday.
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