Real Mallorca came from being two goals behind to pull off an impressive 2-2 draw away at Mirandes in the Castile/Leon region of Spain. Our island football team don’t half put their fans through the wringer (we used to call it a mangle in Scotland), none more so than up in Miranda De Ebro on Saturday night. Whoever said football’s a funny old game wasn’t kidding. That best known of all football phrases summed up this game (especially in the second half) when the Palma side produced the mother of all comebacks to salvage a point in a game they certainly didn’t look likely to get anything from at the break. We looked dead and buried as the referee blew for half time but two inspired substitutions from “Chapi” Ferrer in the second half turned the match on its head.
Mallorca went behind after just five minutes, a free kick out on the right was nodded in by an unmarked Galan; Mallorca’s defence and our German 19-year-old ‘keeper Timon Wellenreuther completely missed the cross. As if that mistake from the young German wasn’t enough, he gifted Mirandes their second in the 26th minute. A routine save was spilled and Nestor was on hand to gobble up the loose ball and convert the spillage. The home side looked in easy street as Mallorca pushed forward trying to open their account and once again came so agonisingly close to scoring. The coach just had to make changes at half time and duly brought on Brandon Thomas and Michael Pereira for Company and Arana respectively. Their impact was immediate as a revitalised Mallorca halved the deficit in the 48th minute. Brandon sent Sissoko through with a brilliant ball and the Mali-born Frenchman scored his second goal in two games. The difference in midfield, with Javi Ros playing further forward and the incessant probing from Sissoko, began to put Mirandes on the back foot; they were hanging on.
In the 63rd minute the tricky Pereira put over a beautiful ball and the smallest player on the pitch, Javi Ros, headed Mallorca level at the far post. Again we came so close to bagging the winner but somehow Mirandes held on for another home draw. Bianchi ploughed a lone furrow upfront and it’s surely only a matter of time before he starts bulging the net.
SUMMING UP : Chapi’s inspirational changes turned the game around completely and gave Mallorca their best second half for many moons. They showed just how important Brandon Thomas is in the scheme of things and what a super-sub Pereira is. This season he seems more suited coming off the bench. On the downside were the two howlers from goalkeeper Timon, but he’s only 19 and is on a learning curve. Having said that, though, he did have an absolute ’mare.
After the weekend’s results and for all their heroic endeavours Mallorca are third bottom on nine points, but only ten from automatic promotion and five from the play-offs. We are one ahead of Sunday’s opponents Almeria, who play us at the Son Moix (12 noon kick-off) in a game now being labelled “Battle of the Basement.”