Jose Mourinho will be left to ponder a thought or two as his Real Madrid side produced a lacklustre performance against a very resolute Mallorca.
As well as Los Blancos introducing a new manager to La Liga as were the Islanders with Michael Laudrup, who is back in the realm of Spain after a disappointing spell at Spartak Moscow. The Dane will certainly be happier than his counterpart as his side battled for a well earned point where they enjoyed plenty of possession – particularly in the first half.
Mourinho decided to start youngster Sergio Canales along with Angel di Maria who marked their league debuts with their new employers along with veteran Ricardo Carvalho who partnered Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defence.
The first half in truth lacked the audacious ability and technical flair we have become accustomed to in the Spanish game. Both sides played their own brand of chess as they tried to figure each other out – which suited the hosts.
Mallorca were very confident on the ball and produced a number of hair raising moments for goalkeeper Iker Casillas who was kept on his toes throughout the opening forty-five minutes. Madrid themselves enjoyed their fair share of possession but couldn’t utilise any benefits for Ronaldo and Co.
Cristiano Ronaldo played just off Gonzalo Higuain who are both looking to replicate their scintillating form last season. Higuain’s honesty went unnoticed as he could easily have gone down after a clumsy challenge from Mallorca captain Ruben – which undoubtedly would have seen an early bath for the Portuguese.
The ‘special one’ was as brash as ever on the sideline as he questioned the forth official on a number of occasions as well as dishing out the odd piece of advice to the linesman on his near side. He did in fact leave his dugout for half-time with a charming smile – possibly disguising his frustration.
The second half pretty much continued in the same vain as the first.
Los Bermellones brought on Fernando Cavenaghi in place of Sergi Enrich. The Argentine had a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring after latching onto Nsue’s tantalising cross – only to head over following pressure from Casillas.
Real began to dictate much of the possession but without any aura or prowess. They seemed to lack a creative spark despite the flurry of attributes their key personnel beholds.
Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema came on just under the hour mark in place of Canales and di Maria. They certainly added more tempo to Real’s game but without any conviction in the final third.
Mallorca looked to break on the counter with Nsue looking dangerous but Madrid was able to withstand such pressure with relative ease. The Islanders were putting up a valiant effort but were beginning to tire in the final quarter of the game.
Sami Khedira made his bow in place of Arbeloa and looked promising as he looked to get involved in the attacking emphasis of Real’s play as well as perform his defensive duties.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a fantastic opportunity to give his team the lead as he latched onto a through ball from Karim Benzema only to fluff his lines. Mallorca’s Aouate stood his ground as the Portuguese wizard looked all but certain to slot the ball home. The Israeli international had a fine game indeed which saw him make a number of decent saves.
Gonzalo Higuain had a golden chance to open his account as he found himself totally unmarked in the box before latching onto a super through ball from Ronaldo but was once again denied by Aouate – Benzema was unable to respond to the rebound.
Madrid continued to pile on the pressure but were subsequently denied by their persistent opponents who were justifying last season’s heroics where they narrowly missed out on a Champions League place.
Benzema who was visibly drowning of a lack of confidence had half a chance in stoppage time but was unable to strike the ball cleanly after doing ever so well to elude his opponent to find a pocket of space.
With Barcelona looking a cut above the rest of Europe with a vintage display against Santander, Real looked average based on this performance. However this is a brand new setup with the introduction of a new manager, players and philosophy. There is no doubt that Mourinho will look to the Osasuna game in two weeks time at the Bernabeu to orchestrate Madrid’s title credentials.