A Vedat Muriqi penalty handed Real Mallorca their first La Liga (LL) win since February as they deservedly beat a lacklustre Atlético Madrid 1-0, completing a surprise league double over the defending champions.
It looked unlikely that Real Mallorca would overcome in-form visitors Atlético to end their seven-game LL losing streak and lift themselves out of the relegation zone. Unlike their trip to the Etihad on Tuesday, Atlético dominated the ball from the off with chances falling to Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco early on. Having scored 12 goals in their last five LL games, ‘Colchoneros’ looked uncharacteristically flustered in front of goal. In particular, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suárez were struggling to link up and create chances. Referee Juan Martínez Munuera was the busiest man on the field having awarded 13 free-kicks by HT.
Diego Simeone, clearly unimpressed by what he saw in the first half, introduced Thomas Lemar and Matheus Cunha during the break but it was the hosts who went closest shortly after the restart. Brian Oliván’s superb long-range volley had Jan Oblak scrambling across his goal line to tip his effort smartly round the post. As the game progressed it became clear that the hosts’ greatest threat was from set-pieces. Muriqi went closest for Mallorca just after the hour mark, getting on the end of a Dani Rodríguez free-kick and heading just wide.
The game was turned on its head when Pablo Maffeo was brought down by Reinildo Mandava just inside the Atlético Madrid penalty area. Munuera pointed to the spot after a lengthy VAR check, allowing Muriqi to step up and blast his penalty into the top corner for a deserved 1-0 lead. Atletico woke up after going behind, finally sending men forward and applying pressure to Mallorca in the final third but ultimately couldn’t find a way past the hosts’ resilient defence. Mallorca’s first league win in eight games sends them out of the relegation zone into 17th, while Atlético remain fourth, one point ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis.