Lamine Yamal rescues lifeless Barcelona in win over Mallorca

The 16-year-old scored scored the winner and was Barcelona's best player against Mallorca.

FC Barcelona v Real Mallorca - LaLiga EA Sports
FC Barcelona v Real Mallorca - LaLiga EA Sports / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Lamine Yamal to the rescue as the 16-year-old star scored the winner in Barcelona's Friday night win over Mallorca.

In another uninspired performance from the Catalan side, it was Yamal who produced a moment of magic to momentarily lift Barcelona into second place in LaLiga.

Despite dominating possession, Barcelona produced very little in terms of goal scoring opportunities. However, they did have a chance to go up a goal in the first half after Raphinha went down inside the penalty area.

The referee did not whistle for the foul but was called to the monitor by VAR. In the replay, it was quite clear that Raphinha's ankle was clipped. After a couple of moments, the referee awarded Barcelona a penalty.

With Robert Lewandowski not on the pitch, the task of taking the penalty was given to Ilkay Gundogan. Gundogan's penalty was poor and easily saved by the Mallorca goalkeeper.

The penalty miss seemed to take the sails out of Barcelona as they could only muster half chances with long-range attempts continuously blocked.

The breakthrough finally came in the 73rd minute as Lamal cut inside from the right and angled a shot toward the far post that the goalkeeper could do nothing but admire.

It was another moment of brilliance from Lamal who had already threatened prior with a shot that was parried away and into the crossbar.

"Lamine made the difference tonight," Xavi Hernandez said after the match. "He did not have his best game for Barcelona, but he made the difference, he was totally differential for the team. I am so happy for him at 16 years old."

Mallorca still managed to threaten in the final minutes but the Barcelona defense managed to hang firm and keep the clean sheet.

The match against Mallorca was Barcelona's first since losing both Pedri and Frenkie de Jong. If that was any indication of how things are going to go, the Blaugrana are going to have their work cut out for them.

The onus to create something was left up to Gundogan and while he is capable of doing so, that responsibility cannot fall to just one player. Raphinha was tried out in midfield but was largely ineffective in his 36 minutes before leaving the game with an injury.

With Andreas Christensen playing the role of pivot, the likes of Joao Canceloa and Jules Kounde are going to become even more important for Barcelona in attack. The introduction of Fermin Lopez added some fluidity in midfield but he's not at the level of a Pedri or a De Jong.

Barcelona could end the weekend in second place depending on Girona's result. If they hang on, it'll be an important step toward next season.


Before they can look ahead, however, there is still the matter of a Champions League round of 16 match against Napoli on Tuesday. The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg. Similar to finishing in the top two in LaLiga, advancing to the quarterfinals in the Champions League is another opportunity Barcelona cannot afford to miss.