Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona: summary, score, goals and highlights - LaLiga Santander 2021/22
Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona: how it happened
Barça start 2022 with win
A win is a win. That's all that Xavi and those associated with Barça have been concerned about in recent matches. But the difference tonight was the performance to add to it.
Scintillating and dominant of the teams we've seen over the years? No, far from it. But shoots of positivity, growth and confidence can definitely be seen.
This was a victory that the depleted Catalan side deserved. More time is needed, but there is something to build on with this group, and we'll be watching the evolution closely.
Peep, peep, peeeeep! The whistle blows
A selection of yellow cards handed out by the ref as this ends with a little bitterness (check the match info above for details) but it looks as though this is going to end without any more chances.
WHAT A SAVE!!!
Ter Stegen has just - somehow - kept the three points for his team. A point blank save from an unmarked Jaume Costa at the back post.
How on earth?!
The closing minutes have been all about our hosts.
The pressure is on this Barça backline and they will hope there's not going to be much added on time...
We'll have four minutes!
Nice play down the left inside channel creates an opening for a dinked cross. Fer Nino meets it at the front post but gets far too much on it when a deft flick was needed.
Remember what I said about this being a dangerous scoreline to try and hold onto? Mallorca just went as close as they have this half, a header from Mboula just over Ter Stegen's crossbar.
Time running out for that equaliser though.
As Dermot points out, the latest player to take to the field is another debutant, and one that takes Barça's squad usage to 33 for the season so far!
Just as I compliment him, Xavi gives Ilias the hook, Pedrola is on in his place.
Ilias just loves playing, doesn't he. Every time he gets possession of the ball on the right wing he's got that mischievous look about him that tricky wide men tend to have, the good ones, at least.
Mallorca are aware of his threat and double team him.
Lenglet is coming on for Mingueza but it's potentially more bad news for Xavi.
The young defender was down getting some leg stretches from Piqué before leaving the field of play. Hopefully for all concerned it is just cramp and not something more serious.
With the goal advantage, I'm starting to feel that Barça players are getting more and more comfortable keeping the ball rather than piling forward for a sustained attack, as they were earlier.
That's understandable given the circumstances, but oh how a second goal would settle the blaugrana nerves.
Mboula is now on for Sanchez; and Llabres on for Kang-In Lee
Xavi also making a change: Álvaro Sanz replacing Nico
It's all a bit frantic at the moment as both sides try to make something happen but unable to get the final pass away to fashion a chance at goal.
Still some really nice interplay to enjoy, especially from the visitors.
First shake-up as Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta comes on for the home side, taking the place of Baba. At the same time Fer Nino comes on for Angel.
Both sets of players have had their chance to fling their hands up in the air and scream at Mateu Lahoz for a penalty kick. The result is the same on both occasions... no penalty.
A quick look at the replays and they were both very desperate shouts. Nothing close to being given.
Close! Nico gets himself into a little space and tries to curl the ball into the far corner. He's not far from it being an absolute beauty...but just can't get it to bend enough.
What an excellent start to this half from both teams. The play has shifted from one side to the other, both flirting with the penalty area but without yet getting a hand on its thigh.
And each advance has been composed, and well developed, not just diving in with a hopeful lunge.
Who can penetrate first?
The first two minutes will have immediately pleased Xavi. His boys started without the ball but pressed high and won it back, then drawing a free-kick which lets them load the penalty area.
No more goals but exactly the intensity required to get them on the front foot.
Peep! We're back underway, Mallorca getting us going...
Teams are heading out...
The main takeaway for me from that first 45 was the fluidity that we saw from the boys in lilac. Both with and without the ball.
Mallorca worked hard to disrupt them when they had possession but neat passes and tidy movement allowed openings to appear. When without the ball, they looked to hunt in packs, pressuring the key men and valuable spaces.
All that said, it was a dominant period of play with a hint of vulnerability about it, understandable given the youthfulness and relative lack of pitchtime together. Positive signs though.
Brassell normally talks a lot of sense and it appears he was as surprised as me with that first half performance.
Peeep! And no sooner have Mallorca restarted that the whistle goes.
They'll be gutted to have conceded that goal in the way they did and when they did.
GOAL!! De Jong heads in
He came the closest earlier with two harder chances but makes no mistake this time heading home at the back post a lofted free-kick delivery from deep on the right.
A soft free-kick won about 25-30 yards from Ter Stegen's goal is a chance for the hosts to get their fans excited.
Kang-In Lee trots up and goes low. The German keeper knows all about things Löw and saves with ease.
After that fluttering of Barça pressure, recent minutes has seen both sides move forward and back looking for that crucial space in behind, which hasn't been forthcoming.
The Barça attacks have been nice and tidy, inventive too, but are now coming in waves.
A rare opportunity opens up for Mallorca and it falls to Baba to get a shot away. In the end Ter Stegen drops to his left and makes a fairly regulation save.
CLANG! Luuk de Jong comes the closest yet to opening the scoring... not once but twice
A gorgeous through flick has him in front of Reina but his poke on the stretch comes back of the upright.
Almost immediately after, a cross into the middle of the penalty area is met with an overhead kick from the Dutchman. Sweet contact made, but Reina is alert and deflects away.
Brilliant stuff all round!
Riqui and Nico work really hard to get possession back and then interchange sharply to maintain it. Only a late challenge on Piqué who moved forward in support ended the move.
Barça's play has just stepped up once again.
A bit of respite in recent minutes for the hosts, mostly from their own making, getting on the ball more and spreading the play amongst themselves into space.
Barça continue to knock at the door but only gently. After shifting the ball around a busy 18-yard box, Jutglà finally gets a strike away but it's not bothering Reina.
There's a cracking atmosphere being created here by the home fans. They'll be hoping that those on the pitch in red and black can take their lead. Nothing of note yet.
More slick attacking play from the Catalan guests. Illias cuts in from the right, as an overlapping run creates space, and his effort is blocked away for a corner by Reina.
It's one way traffic and, dare I say it, only a matter of time before we have the opener.
It's a really decent strike from the defender but curls just wide of the right-hand post.
The home side just can't get out of their half, those less-than threatening lilac beings not giving them a moments peace.
The constant pressure leads to a free-kick handed to Barça in shooting distance. Which of these youngsters will step up to take it?
Here comes Piqué...
The hosts couldn't hold onto the ball for any time and the visitors are back on it.
Really tidy combinations on both sides of the Mallorcan area but they're unable to breach it. Dare i say there's a swagger about this young side already showing?
Barça, playing in that full lilac kit that would easily turn the players invisible in a low fog, have a nice opening period of possession.
First across their own half, they attempt to go long with Piqué trying to pick out Jutglà, who can't reach.
Peeeep! Barça get us going...
OK, the teams are out and we're going through the usual admin. Captains Pique and Reina shake hands and we're just about ready to get underway.
Antonio Mateu Lahoz is our man in the middle tonight. Wearing that eye-hurting luminous shirt, he'll definitely get noticed.
Hopefully, he is not the talking point come full-time.
I'm expecting some exciting play from these fearless Barça kids. There is little pressure on them (relatively) so hopefully they can go out and show what they've got. And they've got some skills!
Eto'o's Mallorcan mural
Before the game tonight, Samuel Eto'o unveiled a mural of him on the wall of the Visit Mallorca Estadi.
The striker played 120 games for the islanders, scoring 48 goals, before moving to Barça and playing alongside some young Argentine lad in a fairly decent frontline.
Ferran Torres...not yet!
In case you were wondering where the exciting new signing is tonight, he is still not avaiable to play.
Ferran Torres, who is injured anyway, cannot be registered until Monday at the earliest after his move from Manchester City.
Xavi can't believe game going ahead
Xavi spoke ahead of the game and said that he believes forcing Barcelona to play today is "crazy" due to the Blaugrana's 17 first-team absences.
Barca were hit with a spate of covid-19 cases during the winter break, with as many as 10 players testing positive for the illness.
"It makes no sense to play tomorrow," Xavi told reporters. "We are in an extreme situation. We have between 17-18 casualties, it depends on Umtiti, who today has tested negative but has not trained for a week.
"It's a time to suspend the game. In this way [not postponing the game], the competition is adulterated, it is crazy to play like this.
"We have no choice but to compete with who we have. Mallorca has also asked for it [the game to be postponed].
"We must appeal to common sense. It's not a complaint, it's a reality. Basketball has been suspended.
"We will play if LaLiga forces us. We've trained well, but it's a chaotic situation. Be that as it may, we will go out to compete and try to win."
If you're not a close follower of Barça, you can be forgiven for screwing up your face somewhat when you see the starting XI. Hardly household names lining up across the pitch.
Injuries and suspensions have played their usual role in this, but it's the covid spread across the squad that has really hurt.
Of course Xavi, the players and Barça supporters around the globe are focused on the improvements they need to see at their club.
That said, I'm guessing their year has started off with a schadenfreude-fuelled smile after this happened earlier today.
Starting XI: Barcelona
Ter Stegen; Araujo, Piqué, Eric García, Mingueza; Frenkie de Jong, Nico, Riqui Puig; Luuk de Jong, Jutglà, Ilias
Starting XI: Mallorca
Reina; Maffeo, Russo, Valjent, Jaume Costa; Baba, Battaglia; Dani Rodríguez, Kang In Lee, Sánchez; Ángel
Team news incoming...
How it stands: Barcelona
Three points for the visitors will keep them pushing for a place among the top four teams, an unexpected low bar target for this season. Covid-19, though, is adding a further challenge.
Coming into this, Xavi Hernández’s men sit seventh in the standings, two points behind fourth-placed Rayo Vallecano. They are some distance of their main rivals, Real Madrid, leading the way on 46 points.
How it stands: Mallorca
As is often the case, most of those that jump onto our live feed make it clear that they are focused on the heavyweight side, but we never ignore the less glamorous. It takes two teams to create the Beautiful Game, after all.
Mallorca need to flip the form of their last outing, where they lost against Granada 4-1 at the end of the year. Prior to that, however, Luis García’s squad - one aiming to secure back-to-back seasons in the top flight for the first time since 2013 - had recorded a run of five games without a loss.
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Mallorca vs Barcelona live: welcome
Hello and a very warm welcome to you wherever you are joining us from today. A new year has begun and most people around the world are hoping 2022 can do a better job of things than the previous two. On a footballing level, that goes for Barça fans too!
Xavi has been in charge for a good while now and there have been signs of his imprint on the team, with a number of very young talents getting the benefit of his own world-conquering experience.
There are plenty of points still to play for this season and three here on the island of Mallorca would be the perfect way to start the year, as the Catalan club target a move up the table. Very soon we'll find out if that is achieved.