On Sunday, Real Mallorca, after completely dominating the first half, had their pocket picked when they went down one-nil to Valladolid, who scored in the 89th minute. This was a real gut-wrenching defeat for the fans and has left coach Pepe Galvez’s job hanging by a thread. News breaking today (Monday) was that ex-Mallorca boss Fernando Vazquez is set to return as the club’s third coach this season. He had a spell in charge in 1999/2000, when we famously beat Ajax in the Amsterdam Arena one-nil. Vazquez would be a popular choice with the Son Moix faithful and he took Deportivo La Coruña into La Liga in 2014. He was an English teacher in Galicia before taking up football coaching.
We should have been four goals up after 20 minutes; only poor finishing and a tendency to try and walk the ball into the net prevented us from being on easy street. Thierry Moutinho, who must have covered every blade of grass in the first half on a really good-looking playing surface, was our man of the match by a mile, and when he was taken off in the 58th minute after aggravating an injury, the whole outcome of the game changed. Mallorca went from total domination to total desperation as once again we looked leggy in the last ten minutes. In the first period Mallorca did everything but score in what was the best 45 minutes we’ve played this season. Creating chance after chance, the game should have been over at half-time, especially when Coro hit the bar in the 26th minute with a rasping riser that had the visiting keeper beaten all ends up.
Valladolid came to Palma with a let’s-all-fall-down-after-every-tackle philosophy and a poor referee bought all their skullduggery. Free kick after free kick went against us as the 9,000-ish crowd got more and more exasperated with Mallorca’s failings in front of goal and the visitors’ histrionics. But they had better substitutes than we did and both of them had a major part to play in their win.
Once again it was in the final metres of the pitch where Mallorca didn’t have a Scooby. All the build-up play was top quality but as soon as the so-called strikers saw the whites of Valladolid ‘keeper Kepa’s eyes they fluffed every chance going. The only bright spark for Mallorca, apart from Moutinho, was the introduction of new signing Pol Roigé in the 58th minute. He looked a real live-wire and even made passes with the outside of his boot. Given a few more games he could be the business.
Two minutes from time, with Valladolid coming more and more into the game, Juan Villar scored from a cross; something Mallorca failed to do on at least four occasions. It was heartbreak for Mallorca fans after this result and keeps the islanders deeply rooted in the relegation zone.
Real Mallorca are now in serious relegation trouble and chief executive Maheta Molango has somehow to find a goalscorer from a limited January transfer window market. He took his seat in the palco with his wife and baby: that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a baby in the directors' box. Molango got very aereated with what was going on on the pitch. Evidently, he upset the Valladolid travelling hierarchy because he was too animated; protocol states home and visiting top brass are expected to remain motionless during proceedings.
After the game we had lunch in a nearby bar and the Real Madrid/Sporting Gijon game came on the telly. Madrid had three strikers and scored three goals in as many minutes. We had no striker and no goals were scored in 93 minutes. Fellow season ticket holders John and Barbara summed the game up in the bar afterwards: “If you don’t like the football, there are always the lovely views of the mountains to look at.”
Before this game everything was set up perfectly. The pitch had a lot of work done on it and looked near immaculate. We had blue sky, a little breeze and a good gate: bring it on. Valladolid forced two corners early doors before Mallorca were guilty of profligacy as Fofo, Brandon Thomas and Coro all missed the target from golden opportunities on a frustrating afternoon at Son Moix. Mallorca at times turned on the style, with new signing Pol Roigé making his debut on the left wing after 58 minutes and endearing himself to fans with his all-action approach. Coro produced an excellent chest, turn and shot in the early exchanges and his effort cannoned off the crossbar.
Towards the end, Valladolid showed their threat. Mallorca looked tired and they scored on the counter-attack. That late goal almost emptied the Son Moix as fans flooded for the exits. Mallorca made a half-hearted scrappy attempt to force an equaliser but they had already missed enough chances to win several games. All in all another frustrating game for Mallorca fans. The word on everybody’s lips as we trudged out of the Son Moix was “delantero” (striker). Without one of them we’re going only one way – down.
There’s another home game this Saturday at 6pm against Alcorcon.