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FC Barcelona finally put an end to their negative run at Camp Nou with a convincing 2-1 win over Mallorca on Sunday. In one of his best games of the season, Memphis scored the first and captain Sergio Busquets was on hand for the second.
On a night that the fans were treated to the wonderful sight of Ansu Fati back in action, Mallorca pulled one back to set up a tenser finale than expected, but the Catalans held on for three very important points indeed.
Memphis fires in
Barça had been threatening to score from the word go. Aubameyang looked certain to have scored but visiting keeper Sergio Rico kept that one out, and Ronaldo Araujo (fresh from signing a new contract) did manage to head one in but was caught for offside.
Mallorca, just one point clear of relegation at the start of the match, were being outclassed but were by no mean idle. Indeed, had Fer Niño managed to connect a bit better to a cross from former Barça B man Brian Oliván, they could have scored first.
But it felt like it was only a matter of time before Barça would score, and they finally did on 25 minutes. Jordi Alba worked the build-up (his ninth assist of the season) and Memphis did the rest by capping an inspired night with a rifled finish.
Everything had gone to plan in the first half, the only setback being the loss of Gerard Piqué to injury after just 26 minutes.
Busquets extends lead
With little sign of a Mallorca reaction, Barça pressed on in search of more and got it when Busquets was quickest onto a rebound, spotted the chance to shoot and made the very most of the opportunity.
There could have been a third when the ball ended up in the Mallorca net following a tangled confusion around the six-yard box. That one was discounted for offside, but all eyes were on the touchline… Somebody was about to come on.
Ansu is back!
101 days after his injury in January, Ansu Fati was back on the park!
The 19-year-old was welcomed by a rapturous ovation but the party mood quickly turned to concern as Mallorca not only woke up but found the net.
Antonio Raíllo got a knee on the end of Salva Sevilla’s long free kick and Ter Stegen was beaten.
Solid in second
What had looked like a routine win was suddenly not quite as comfortable as expected. The decibels dropped in the stadium in preparation for a nervy finish…
But in the end there was nothing to worry about. The three points were safe. After three setbacks at home, the Camp Nou had finally been treated to another win.
Next up is a crucial trip to fifth placed Real Betis on Saturday at 9.00pm CEST.
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