Real Mallorca 1 Real Madrid 1: Real title defence boosted by Robben's mazy magic

Arjen Robben is finally beginning to pay back some of the £24m Real Madrid invested in him last summer. He brilliantly made the goal that helped the champions to another precious point in their battle to retain the title.

With seven games to go Madrid remain La Liga favourites but only early- season form and the inconsistency of those around them is keeping them in pole position. Robben's magic, and some help from referee Arturo Dauden Ibanez, helped them draw this game.

They should have been behind after Fernando Navarro shot past Iker Casillas but, inexplicably, the referee decided Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos had been fouled by Juan Fernando Arango and ruled out the goal.

Madrid players looked as stunned as the home side. Valera had crossed from the right and before Fernando finished it Ramos and Arango had clashed but if anything Ramos looked to have fouled Arango as he lunged to get ahead of the Mallorca striker.

The decision boosted the visitors and 10 minutes later they were ahead. Robben set off on a mazy run that took him into the penalty area and past three Mallorca defenders. He drew the goalkeeper and squared for Wesley Sneijder who had the easiest of tap-ins to put the visitors ahead.

"I was happy to score said," said Sneijder. "But all of the credit has to go to Robben. It was a spectacular run and cross." Robben arrived at Madrid injured, barely passed his medical and spent most of the first half of the season in the treatment room but at last he is performing and keeping Robinho out of the team.

After the goal Ibanez then denied Mallorca a penalty as both he and his linesman missed a handball from Fabio Cannavaro. But the referee did his best to make up for his first half mistakes with another in the second half this time in favour of Mallorca.

He gave full-back Sergio Ramos two harsh bookings, first for handball and then for a trip. After the 66th-minute sending off, Mallorca took advantage of the extra man and in particular of Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster's strange decision to bring on midfielder Mohammad Diarra at right-back when he had two defenders on the bench.

Substitute Borja Valero threatened down the Madrid right before he hit the equaliser with a spectacular shot after exchanging passes with Arango. But those around him were struggling to hit the target and, with winger Jonas particularly guilty of woeful finishing, Madrid were able to cling on for the draw.

"Things were a lot more comfortable for us before the sending off," said Schuster. "The change affected us but we are happy with the point especially at this stage of the season."

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas; Ramos, Heinze, Cannavaro, Marcelo; Guti, Gago, Sneijder (Torres, 74); Higuain (Diarra, 58), Raul (Baptista, 80), Robben.

Real Mallorca (4-4-2): Moya; Hector (Webo, 78), Ramis (D Navarro, 27), Nunes, F Navarro; Varela (Borja Valero, 67), Basinas, Ibagaza, Jonas; Arango, Guiza.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits