Vinicius Jr. and Rodrigo scored in the second half as Real Madrid won their fifth consecutive La Liga game with a 4-1 victory over Mallorca on Sunday. Vinicius scored in a fifth straight game as Real Madrid extended their perfect start to the season with a win over Mallorca. Vinicius Junior gave Real Madrid the lead with 18 minutes left on a late Rodrigo goal. Antonio Rudiger completed his fifth consecutive league with a goal in added time, and a win as Carlo Ancelotti’s team returned to the top spot over Barcelona. 

Mallorca fell to Real Madrid for the seventh time in a row at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, despite holding an early lead, creating the third game in five in which Real Madrid has come from behind to win. Real Madrid has averaged 13.5 shots inside the box per 90 minutes in La Liga Santander but only had six versus Mallorca. Three goals, with a combined 1.3 xG, earned Real Madrid the victory, compared to 0.65 xG from Real Madrid’s other 19 shots. Valverde’s effort in the first half tied the game at a moment when Mallorca was level on xG and ahead on the scoreboard. That run from deep demonstrated the type of growth that Real Madrid was failing to achieve.

Dani Ceballos was given a rare start, his first since April and only his third while returning from a loan spell at Arsenal, and he more than proved his worth against Mallorca. He created more chances for goals than any other player on the field on Sunday afternoon, but he went above and beyond. He was second only to Toni Kroos in terms of completed passes with 69, and he paved the way in regards to playing creativity in midfield with a 91% accuracy. He was able to dictate the tempo and influence play by placing himself just ahead of the German.

The last time Real Madrid won a LaLiga game by more than one goal without Benzema was a 2-0 triumph over Osasuna on September 25th, 2019, and this was the most significant win without the Frenchman in the league since a 6-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna on April 26th, 2017. It was only the sixth occasion since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure that Real Madrid had won in LaLiga without Karim, with four losses and four draws rounding out the record. With numerous games ahead of him, this moment was possibly the most crucial result yet. There will be questions about Benzema’s immediate successor, especially given Hazard’s ineffective performance. Still, this game demonstrated that Real Madrid has enough talent elsewhere in the team to compensate for the loss of an out-and-out number nine.