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Americans Abroad

Keller, Rayo in first place following 2-1defeat of Mallorca.

(Sunday, August 29, 1999) -- American goalkeeper Kasey Keller and his Rayo Vallecano improbably sit at the top of the Spanish League First Division standings -- albeit after winning its first two matches -- following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Mallorca at home this afternoon in Vallecas Stadium.

Mallorca, one of the Spanish league's pre-season favorites, had lost a week earlier to Real Madrid, giving up two goals in stoppage time. Then on Wednesday, it was eliminated from the Champions League by Molde of Norway on a penalty kick with less than five minutes to play.

In the 36th minute Mallorca went down a man when Gustavo Siviero received his second yellow card. But it kept up the attack and broke through in the 44th minute Luis Carreras cracked in a header from the penalty spot that went in at the left post.

The second half, however, was all Rayo. In the 66th minute Luis Cembranos tied the score with a blast from 30 years. Then just two minutes from the end, Manuel Canabal -- newly arrived from Real -- scored the winner.

A crowd of 6,000 watched Rayo's victory in tiny Vallecas stadium. Meanwhile, across town, a crowd announced at 85,000 watched Real defeat Numancia 4-1. So after two league matches, neither which it was supposed to win, Rayo sits at the top of the league with six points, tied with several including Real.

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