Real Madrid player ratings vs Mallorca: Antonio Rudiger picks up the mantle to give Los Blancos cushion at top of La Liga as Jude Bellingham endures rare off-night


The German defender bagged a late winner to give his side a three-point lead over surprise package Girona at the summit

Antonio Rudiger came up clutch to head a crucial late winner for Real Madrid as they secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mallorca on Wednesday night, with usual suspect Jude Bellingham going missing for long periods of the game.

This was a frustrating contest for the home side, who seemed unlikely to find the net for long stretches, before a set-piece sealed a vital win.

The returning Vinicius Jr enjoyed the first big chance of the game, latching onto a Luka Modric pass and seeing his shot diverted narrowly around the post. The Brazilian had another effort denied shortly after, encapsulating a largely frustrating opening period for Los Blancos.

Mallorca offered some thrust of their own, with Antonio Sanchez diverting the ball off the underside of the bar and somehow away from goal. Samu Costa also carved out a chance, cannoning a shot off the base of the post.

Still, this seemed to be Real’s game to lose. Brahim Diaz hit the post from inches out halfway through the second half, and the introduction of Joselu saw the home side seize control. But it was from a corner that Carlo Ancelotti’s side won it. Rudiger grabbed the goal, directing a majestic, arcing header into the far corner – leaving goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic rooted to the spot.

This wasn’t pretty, but the importance simply cannot be understated, as Los Blancos now lead second-placed Girona by three points, albeit the Catalans have a game in hand.

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