MANZANO´S SIDE FIGHT BACK TO EARN POINT AGAINST RACINGMatthew O'Connor
A frantic first seven minutes and a frenetic last ten at Son Moix on Sunday saw a compelling 3-3 draw between Real Mallorca and Racing de Santander.
Mallorca, who fought back from 3-1 down at half-time, move above Barça and up to tenth in the league.
Anyone arriving even a few minutes late on Sunday will have missed three goals.
In the first 45 seconds Rodolfo Bodipo evaded the hapless Federico Lussenhoff and latched onto a long ball. Bodipo's first touch was excellent creating space to score past Leo Franco. Mallorca, looking to increase their four match unbeaten record, responded immediately racing straight to the other end after the restart. Walter Pandiani created space on Mallorca's right and crossed to a fast incoming Albert Riera who did fantastically to angle a vicious shot into the Racing net and equalise after just 2 minutes. Five minutes later and Racing were back in front. Fernando Niño was booked for a clumsy challenge on Javi Guerrero, who stood up and converted the penalty himself. As the pace of the match calmed slightly Mallorca took control of possession. However Racing proved their new fitness regime under president Dimitri Piterman is paying off and contained everything Mallorca could muster. On one of their rare forages forward two minutes from the break Racing went 3-1 up when Guerrero's tight cross found the head of Bodipo who knocked in his second and Racing's third. Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano obviously had stern words with his players during half time as they returned to the field a different side.
Three minutes into the second half Samuel Eto'o's lightning speed caught out the Racing defence only for Pablo Cesar to take the Cameroon international's legs away on the edge of the area. Cesar received his marching orders and the match was set up for a sparkling second half. Mallorca went on the offensive as Racing packed their defence trying to catch the Islanders on the break with only the dangerous Mario Rugueiro up front. Mallorca's pressure paid off in the 53rd minute when Eto'o's alertness saw him smash in from close range for his first goal in four months after Pandiani had flicked on a free-kick. The out-of-sorts Pandiani was swapped for Turu Flores soon after and it was the substitute's shot that rebounded to Eto'o who pounced for the equaliser ten minutes from time. Mallorca then threw everything they had at Racing for a tense final ten minutes but were unable to break the visitor's defence for a fourth time and had to settle for the draw. We had the feeling at one point that everything was lost, and then we even had a chance at the end to win, said Manzano after the match. The fact we could even have won the game says a lot about my team and it could have been a historic fight-back. Today saw us take a small step forward in our aim of qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
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