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Lamine Yamal fires Barcelona up to second with winner against Mallorca

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Mar 2024

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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.

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