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A Robert Lewandowski goal and some fine goalkeeping from Ter Stegen were the primary differences between the teams in a tight contest at the Visit Mallorca Stadium on Saturday night.
It was a very solid performance from both sides, and although the Catalans always looked the better of the two, this was neither reflected in the number of chances nor on the scoreboard. Javier Aguirre has put together a fine-looking side this year, and not many teams will be returning from the Balearic Islands with three points.
But with a fifth clean sheet in a row, Barça managed to do it, and it means they will spend the night top of the Liga table, with leaders Real Madrid hosting Osasuna on Sunday.
One of the most spectacular things about Lewandowski is how he makes so many of his goals look so unspectacular. He is just so brilliant at finding the spot from places from which ordinary players would never even think of shooting.
After 20 minutes in which Barça were very much looking the better team without really finding the breakthrough, he was served a pass from Ansu Fati, deftly turned his way around defender Martin Valjent and then swerved in the most casual-looking of finishes to tuck the ball inside the far post at the exact point where Predrag Rajkovic was never going to get to it.
It made the Pole the fastest player to score nine Liga goals in the 21st century, needing just seven games to do it! Exactly Half of his shots on target have ended in goals.
With Gerard Piqué back in the starting XI for the first time this season, in a sometimes feisty encounter Barça were governing the game but without creating streams of chances.
Ter Stegen was rarely called upon, and did his job extremely well when required, his best intervention being to foil Jaume Costa from point-blank range.
When the 55th minute arrived with no goal for Mallorca, the German stopper surpassed his previous personal best of exactly 500 minutes without conceding.
Mallorca refuse to yield
The game wasn’t dramatic, but it was tense. The home side were largely being outplayed and were causing very little threat, but 1-0 was never a comfortable scoreline.
The final minutes of the same saw the islanders suddenly come to life. Truly believing they could still nick a point, Barça had a number of close calls at the back, the most alarming being a Kang-In Lee attempt that ran along the goal-line without a red shirt managing to connect.
Thankfully, there was no time for surprises, and Culers could breathe a huge sigh of relief when the final whistle blew.
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