MADRID: Real Madrid and Girona remained locked in contention for the leadership of the Spanish league after Antonio Rudiger’s second-half goal earned leaders Madrid a 1-0 home win over Mallorca, extending their unbeaten league run to 13 games.

The win moved Real up to 48 points, ahead by goal difference of surprise package Girona, who host third-placed Atletico Madrid 4-3.

Centre back Rudiger broke the deadlock in the 78th minute as he capitalised on some sloppy defending from Luka Modric’s corner to power a header into the top corner and score his first goal of the season.

Rudiger said: “Great cross by Luka, great block by (Dani) Carvajal and luckily it went in. I’m happy because it was an important goal and three important points for us. This team has something special, a good mix of young and old talent.”

Mallorca had mounted a resilient defensive display and came close to shocking Real with two efforts that hit the woodwork.

Vinicius Jr also went close to scoring on his return to action after being sidelined with an injury but Mallorca keeper Predrag Rajkovic made a superb save to deny the Brazilian in the first half.

Madrid fullback Dani Carvajal said: “It’s always a difficult game when you come back from holidays. Mallorca played a tactically very good game, very aggressive in defence. The set piece gave us the victory.

“We close the first half of the season as possible leaders, 48 points is a lot. In the second half we’ll be looking to surpass them.”

Real next visit fifth-tier Arandina in the first round of the Spanish Cup before taking on Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

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Later Ivan Martin’s stoppage-time goal earned Girona a dramatic 4-3 home win against Atletico Madrid.

Girona opened the scoring two minutes into the game with Valery Fernandez curling in a great shot from the edge of the box before Atletico levelled through Alvaro Morata in the 14th minute.

Girona’s high pressing paid off as they stole the ball from Atletico’s Koke before Savio scored at the second attempt to make it 2-1 in the 26th minute.

Dutch defender Daley Blind extended the hosts’ lead in the 39th minute with a tap-in before Morata pulled one back for Atletico with a fine solo run in the last minute of the first half.

Morata got his third in the 53rd minute, firing home from inside the box to equalise again, but Martin sealed the win for Girona with a brilliant strike.