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The Blancos roll on...


Real Madrid powered past Mallorca with a goal in each half to go top - at least temporarily - of La Liga.

With Barcelona facing Tenerife later in the evening, a strong Madrid lineup, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, and the on-form Rafael van der Vaart, had the chance to climb to the summit of the Liga. The opposition also arrived at near-full strength and fielded a 4-2-3-1 in response to the hosts.

It was a strong start from the hosts, and one that culminated in an early goal in front of a sparse, snow-dampened crowd.

Gonzalo Higuain was the man responsible. Receiving a cross-field ball from Kaka out on the left, the Argentine jinked in towards the edge of the area before curling a fantastic effort into the far corner of the net.

Immediately afterwards, though, Gonzalo Castro was set up by Aditz Aduriz for a close-range header that only narrowly missed the target - proof that the game was not over in this early stage.

Still, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka both spurning excellent chances, Madrid were clearly on top, dented as they were by the injury to van der Vaart, who was replaced by Granero 20 minuets in.

Heading towards the interval, though, that personnel change did not seem to bother the hosts overmuch as Cristiano Ronaldo continued to pull the strings.

Nonetheless the fans had to wait until after the break for that second goal, and it came from the hosts. This time Higuain turned provider, crossing to the far post for Esteban to volley home.

Mallorca, giant-killers at this ground before and ostensibly on-form, had little with which to respond, goalkeeper Dudu Aouate being perhaps the busiest of all their players in the closing stages.

Ten minutes from time Karim Benzema came close to adding a third but his effort was ruled out for offside, and despite the work of Higuain and Ronaldo, 2-0 it ended.

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