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Tchouameni helps Real Madrid see off Mallorca to stay on title course

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PALMA: Aurelien Tchouameni scored a long-range goal to help Real Madrid secure a 1-0 victory over Mallorca in their La Liga 2023-24 match at Estadi Mallorca Son Moix on Saturday.

The victory helped Real Madrid to stay eight points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga points table ahead of the upcoming El Clasico.

The France midfielder, who is suspended for the second leg of Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final away to Manchester City next week, scored three minutes into the second half with a deflected 25-metre drive.

Jude Bellingham rattled the crossbar in the first half with a rasping effort from just outside the area as coach Carlo Ancelotti reshuffled his attack with Wednesday’s trip to England in mind, leaving out Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

Tchouameni’s third goal of the season put Real Madrid ahead, with Brahim Diaz denied a second by the legs of Mallorca goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic and Fede Valverde’s attempt cleared off the line.

Vinicius appeared off the bench for the last 30 minutes but Rodrygo and Toni Kroos were unused substitutes after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City in Tuesday’s first leg.

Sergi Darder’s spectacular dipping shot forced a flying stop from Andriy Lunin as Madrid extended their unbeaten league run to 25 games, keeping Barcelona a safe distance behind ahead of next week’s Clasico in the Spanish capital.

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“It’s a very important victory, which brings us closer to the title. We’re on a good run and now we’re going to think about Wednesday, that we have time to recover well and try to do our best,” said Ancelotti.

“Having an advantage before (next) Sunday’s game is very important and that was the goal.”

Copa del Rey runners-up Mallorca stay in 15th, six points above the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Barcelona, who are desperately trying to force their way back into the title race, matched Madrid’s result with a 1-0 win of their own at third-bottom Cadiz.

Joao Felix’s clever overhead late in the first half secured the points as coach Xavi Hernandez made sweeping changes to the team that beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

The Portugal international led the attack in the absence of the suspended Robert Lewandowski, acrobatically hooking in the only goal after a Cadiz defender’s looping header from a corner fell directly to him.

Fermin Lopez had an effort scrambled off the line and Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s sprawling save to claw away a Diadie Samassekou piledriver preserved a sixth successive clean sheet in the league for the visitors.

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