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Mallorca rallies to punish Real

SUPERB strikes by Cleber Santana and Alhassane Keita powered Real Mallorca to 3-1 comeback win at Real Madrid in a low-key Primera Liga match on Sunday.

It was a humiliating end to trophy-less Real's home campaign and the players, many of whom may be leaving after next weekend's final match of the season, were booed and whistled by disgruntled fans at the half-empty Bernabeu.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain briefly brought the subdued stadium to life in the 20th minute when he rose to nod in Rafael van der Vaart's free-kick. The muted celebrations were halted six minutes later when fine buildup play sent Juan Arango through the middle and his low shot flew under Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Brazilian midfielder Santana weaved through the Real defence just before the hour and crashed a shot into the top left corner and Guinean Keita blasted a third in the 71st minute. It was a fourth straight defeat for Real and a second consecutive home loss following this month's record 6-2 thrashing at the hands of champion and arch-rival Barcelona.

Defender Fabio Cannavaro was playing his final home match before his return to Juventus and the Italy captain was spared the whistles and given a rousing ovation when he was substituted in the second half.

It was almost certainly the last match in charge at the Bernabeu for coach Juande Ramos, whose six-month contract runs in June, and other players could also move on as the club braces for a new president following elections due on June 14.

"It's normal that when a team has nothing left to play for it takes its foot off the gas and I think that's what happened tonight," Ramos said. "If there is absolutely nothing at stake then there is bound to be a certain easing off and it's no wonder that the players are not able to give their all."

Champion Barcelona has 86 points, Real is second on 78 and Sevilla, in third on 67, is assured of a place in next season's Champions League.

Atletico Madrid's 4-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday gave it 64 points and cemented its hold on the fourth and final spot in Europe's top club competition.

Recreativo Huelva and Numancia were relegated after defeats on Saturday, leaving five teams, Osasuna, Sporting Gijon, Real Betis, Getafe and Real Valladolid in the battle to avoid the last relegation spot in the final round of matches.


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