Stunning Lamine Yamal winner lifts Barcelona into 2nd place


Lamine Yamal breaks deadlock for Barca with stunning goal

Lamine Yamal's gorgeous curler gives Barcelona a 1-0 lead over Mallorca.

Barcelona teenager Lamine Yamal struck a fine goal to secure a hard-fought 1-0 home win against a dangerous Mallorca side on Friday to move within five points of leaders Real Madrid.

The victory put the hosts provisionally in second place on 61 points, two clear of Girona, as they closed in on Madrid, who host struggling Celta Vigo on Sunday.

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Yamal's exquisite shot from just inside the corner of the area for the 73rd-minute goal salvaged an otherwise lacklustre Barcelona from a second straight draw.

It was the 16-year-old Yamal's sixth goal across all competitions in his first full season with Barcelona. He's set several milestones for his young age, such as the youngest player to debut and to score in the Spanish league, to score for Spain and to start in the Champions League.

His four league goals before the age of 17 are twice as many as any other player at the same age in LaLiga history. Yamal turns 17 in July.

Lamine Yamal continued his dream debut season for Barcelona by scoring the winner against Mallorca.
LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

"I was trying to keep their left back occupied, but since they gave the space I went for my shot," Yamal said about his goal. "Now we have to think about the Champions League, where we face one of the most important games of the season."

The other standout player for Barcelona was 17-year-old center back Pau Cubrasí, who excelled again with his defending and passing.

"Cubarsí is intelligent. He knows when to go in for the challenge or not," Barça boss Xavi Hernandez said afterward. "He didn't lose a single duel. Spectacular.

"The way he plays the ball out from the back as well, finding the free man ... he doesn't seem like a 17-year-old. Today he has in front of him two powerful strikers [Vedat Muriqi and Cyle Larin) and he did an amazing game. He is playing like a captain. It's amazing, the personality he shows for the team, I think it's spectacular today."

Ilkay Gündogan could have put Barcelona ahead in the 24th minute with a penalty following a VAR check for a challenge on Raphinha. However, Mallorca goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic dived to his left to deny the German international.

Copa del Rey finalists Mallorca were dangerous on the break and created several chances but could not find the finish. They stay in 15th on 27 points, eight clear of the relegation zone.

Xavi kept Robert Lewandowski on the bench until the final half hour, resting him before Tuesday's Champions League round of 16 second leg against Napoli. Their first game in Italy ended 1-1.

The Barcelona manager, who lost midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Pedri to injury in the last game, was forced to take off Raphinha in the 37th after a foul on the Brazilian forward. Speaking after the game, Xavi said Raphinha's had suffered only a "knock" and there were no new injury worries ahead of Tuesday.

"I am always optimistic despite the situation we are in," Xavi said of the Napoli game. "The win today breeds confidence. It may not seem important but it is. We need the fans on Tuesday and we will give our all to reach the quarterfinals.

Information from Reuters, The Associated Press and ESPN's Sam Marsden contributed to this report.