Barcelona started 2022 off on the right foot by defeating Mallorca 1-0 at Son Moix.
Luuk de Jong’s opportunities dominated the game, and it was the Dutch striker who decided the game’s outcome when he scored the game’s sole goal on the stroke of halftime.
It came after he had been denied twice by the woodwork on an evening when he might have easily taken the match ball home with him.
De Jong pushed an attempt onto the base of the post before seeing a tremendous bicycle kick rocket back off the crossbar in the opening half minute.
He get the goal his centre forward play merited less than a minute before halftime, nodding Oscar Mingueza’s tempting cross into the net, which Manolo Reina had left untouched.
Mallorca felt they had grabbed an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time if it hadn’t been for a stunning save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen. After it appeared like Jaume Costa’s well-struck volley would go past him, he managed to keep it out of his net.
The ever-growing list of Barca absentees dominated most of the pre-match talk, but Xavi’s lineup was more than capable of getting the job done. Although both Nico and Mingueza were forced to leave the field in the second half due to cramp, their absence emphasised the team’s problems at the Nou Camp.
With the win, Barcelona climbs to fifth position in the rankings, just a point behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand. Mallorca, however, is still in 15th place after failing to close the four-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone.