Barcelona continued their unbeaten start to the La Liga season and have now won six league games in a row thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 victory away to Real Mallorca on Saturday evening. Barça never came close to playing their best against a very good Mallorca side, but Robert Lewandowski scored an amazing goal to separate the two sides and give the Blaugrana three crucial points.
The tone of the game was set right away as Mallorca settled into a low block and a very defensive 5-4-1 formation designed to leave very few spaces in between the lines and frustrate the Barça attack as much as possible.
The plan worked in the first 20 minutes and there was very little action as the Blaugrana had loads of possession but couldn’t create any danger going forward, and it became clear that it would take a piece of individual brilliance to break the deadlock.
And it was Robert Lewandowski who provided that individual brilliance for Barça as he received a pass from Ansu Fati down the left wing, cut inside to his right foot and fired a beautiful shot into the bottom corner to score a truly special opener.
Lewandowski’s goal opened the game up as Mallorca became more courageous and started sending more bodies forward and pressing higher up the pitch. Barça were a lot less comfortable with the ball and the home team started threatening, and Marc-André ter Stegen had to make a sensational save to stop Jaume Costa from equalizing just five minutes before halftime.
The game also got very physical towards the end of the half, and plenty of Barça players found themselves on the referee’s book while Xavi Hernández’s assistant was sent off for his complaints on the sidelines. Barça managed to survive the madness of the final minutes, and the halftime whistle was finally blown.
At the break, a very intense match had a narrow lead for the visitors and things looked wide open ahead of the final period.
Mallorca were the better team to start the second half, sending even more bodies forward and creating two big chances with a header from Muriqi that went just wide and a shot from Antonio Sánchez that required another big save from Ter Stegen.
The home team looked closer to an equalizer than Barça were to a second, and the Blaugrana continued to struggle in possession against a well-organized defense from the home team. Even with Pedri and Raphinha coming off the bench looking to add more talent and dynamism to the attack Barça were never able to truly trouble the Mallorca goal, and things remained wide open going into the final 10 minutes.
The dying moments were a terror for Barça who were completely unable to keep hold of the ball and gave it away time and time again in dangerous positions. Mallorca kept getting the chance to fire shots on goal, and somehow, someway, the home team didn’t find the back of the net.
The final whistle came to give Barça all three points, but they are very lucky to have won this. Mallorca were the better team on the balance of play and deserved at least a point, but Barça had Lewandowski’s brilliance on their side.
Mallorca will cause teams a lot of problems this season, especially at home, and these three points are huge in the big picture for Barça’s La Liga chase. But the performance has to improve if they want to win games in this brutal October.
Mallorca: Rajkovic; Maffeo, Valjent, Raillo, Copete, Costa (Cufré 77’); Sánchez (Rodríguez 67’), De Galarreta (Lago 85’), Baba, Lee; Muriqi
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Balde, Piqué, Christensen, Alba (Roberto 80’); Kessie (Pedri 67’), Busquets, Gavi; Dembélé (Ferran 80’), Lewandowski, Fati (Raphinha 67’)
Goal: Lewandowski (20’)