Barcelona got 2022 off to the perfect start as they beat Mallorca 1-0 at Son Moix.

It was a game largely dominated by chances for Luuk de Jong and it was the Dutch striker who decided the result of the game as he netted the game’s only goal on the stroke of half time.

It came after he had twice been denied by the woodwork on an evening where he could have quite easily gone home with the match ball.

In the space of one first-half minute, de Jong first poked an effort onto the base of the post before he saw a thunderous bicycle kick cannon back off the crossbar.

However, he got the goal his centre forward play deserved with less than a minute before half time as he nodded Oscar Mingueza’s teasing cross into the back of the net which had been left unattended by Manolo Reina.

After not threatening at all throughout the 90 minutes, Mallorca thought they had nicked an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time but if not for a brilliant save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen. He somehow kept Jaume Costa’s well-struck volley out of his net after it looked as though it was destined to fly past him.

The ever-lengthening list of Barca absentees dominated much of the pre-match chat but the players that Xavi selected were more than capable of securing a result. Although, both Nico and Mingueza left the field with cramp in the second half, further highlighted the issues within the squad at the Nou Camp.

The victory sees Barcelona move to fifth in the table and they are now just a point behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid with a game in hand. Meanwhile, Mallorca remain 15th as they were unable to extend the four-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone.

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