By Martyn Herman
PALMA, Mallorca (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s unbeaten start to the La Liga season came to an abrupt and surprising end as Real Mallorca claimed a stunning 1-0 victory at a rocking Son Moix on Saturday to climb out of the relegation zone.
The Balearic Islanders had only managed six goals in their opening eight games of their first season back in the big time, but needed just one more to down their illustrious visitors.
It was a cracker too, thrashed home in the seventh minute by Lago Junior who with one swing of his right foot wrote his name into Mallorcan sporting folklore.
The Ivorian might even have knocked Mallorca’s favourite sporting son Rafa Nadal’s wedding off the front pages, although the tennis great would surely have raised a glass in honour, even if it came at the expense of the club he supports.
Real Madrid, 5-0 winners on their most recent trip to the island in 2012, were without several big names including Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, but could have no complaints as they failed to function.
Defeat cost them the chance of reclaiming top spot from Barcelona who won earlier in the day and they will have a fortnight to stew following the postponement of next week’s Classico owing to the political situation in Catalonia.
It was no smash and grab raid either as Mallorca produced a tenacious display full of energy to beat Real for the first time since 2006, sparking wild celebrations.
The visitors started confidently enough but were rocked when Lago Junior cut in from the left and lashed a right-footed shot across Thibaut Courtois and inside the far post.
The home fans were in delirium soon afterwards when Ante Budimir thought he had made it 2-0 by thumping a shot past Courtois but the goal was ruled offside.
Karim Benzema struck the woodwork for Madrid before halftime and Brazilian Vinicius Jr threatened with his pace.
But the expected second-half siege failed to materialise and Madrid played the last 15 minutes with 10 men after Alvaro Odriozola received a second yellow card.
Mallorca held firm for their third victory since returning to the top flight following a six-year absence.
They moved up to 14th with 10 points while Real are second, one point behind Barcelona.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)