Real Madrid: Vinicius, Ramos deliver again amid fresh controversy
The incident that swung the game Real Madrid’s way, and further fuelled recent refereeing controversy, came midway through the first half. Dani Carvajal robbed Dani Rodríguez unfairly in the middle of the park, Fede Valverde played the loose ball first-time to Luka Modric and, after advancing a few metres, he fed it to the left to meet the run of Vinicius, who finished deftly. A nicely-worked goal from the moment the ball left Valverde's boot… but the move began with a foul. Plenty of infringements like that tend to slip through the net in the midfield, but this one led to a goal. Referee Mario Melero López missed it, or opted to let it go. On VAR duty was Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva, well known for being a hands-off video assistant.
Vinicius is Real Madrid's outstanding performer again
That goal set Madrid on course for victory in a game which, until then, had been fairly even stevens. It began with two smart stops by Manolo Reina, but Thibaut Courtois was also forced into a pair of good parries soon after. With Casemiro out, Zinedine Zidane shook things up with a 4-2-3-1 featuring Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Vinicius in the ‘line between the lines’ (which, paradoxically, is more and more heavily populated). Vinicius again starred, showing not only his customary pace and ability to go by players, but also that his passing and finishing are coming along nicely. For Mallorca, Take Kubo stood out in a side that as a whole were neat and tidy with ball at feet. All eyes were on him, and he lived up to expectations.
Mallorca make LaLiga history with Romero introduction
Shortly after the break, Madrid wrapped up the points courtesy of a perfectly-struck free-kick by Sergio Ramos, who continues to add new achievements to his CV. After that, the game became disjointed as both sides made a whole host of changes. Among the first to be taken off was Bale, who again failed to impress. The raft of substitutions included a piece of history, as Mallorca made Luka Romero LaLiga’s youngest ever debutant at just 15 years and 219 days old, beating the far-off record set by Celta Vigo’s Sansón in 1939/40. Romero grew up idolising Lionel Messi, and you can see his admiration of the Barcelona star in the way he plays. An Argentina youth international, he is certainly a prospect to keep an eye on.