Real Mallorca face mid-table Zaragoza at La Romareda on Sunday at 12 noon. Cock-a-hoop after their brilliant 3-0 defeat of then league leaders (now second) Leganes at the Son Moix last Saturday, the Palma side need another three wins and a draw to secure their position in the Spanish second division next season. A recent stat in Marca stated that after 11 games with coach Fernando Vazquez in charge, we’ve won five, drawn three and lost three, which would mean we could have been fourth in the league.
It’s expected we’ll start with the same 4-4-2 line-up that came on so strongly in the second half against Leganes. Both our front players Ortuño and Colunga are ex-Zaragoza players, with the former, until November, their leading scorer with seven. However, when they changed coaches at the end of last year, he was pushed down to fourth choice; hence the move to Mallorca. It’s likely Truyols will miss out again with a tweaked hamstring so Yuste could well start at the heart of our defence where he played so well against Leganes.
Zaragoza are coached by ex-Mallorca player and manager Luis Carreras who had a torrid time here between Feb/May 2014 winning just two games from 12. Not long after that he was fired after a terrible run which saw Mallorca only manage three points from a possible 24.
Vazquez (under whom Carreras played here in season 1999/2000) was on the short list to take over Zaragoza in December but there were money issues and he turned them down. On their playing staff is ex-Mallorca captain Javi Ros who moved to La Romareda in January. Similar to the islanders, Zaragoza have over the seasons been predominantly a La Liga side but like us hit hard times a few years ago. Unlike Mallorca, however, their attempts to entice a rich backer have failed and they’re now having financial problems. Their major claim to fame dates back to 1994/5 in the final of the late lamented European Cup Winners Cup which was held in Paris. They beat the defending champions Arsenal 2-1 thanks to a spectacular last minute of extra time goal when Nayim scored with a 40-yard effort past a ponytailed David Seaman.
After tomorrow's game a contingent from the club under general manager Maheta Molango will fly from Madrid to Phoenix, Arizona to spend several days with new owner Robert Sarver and watch his NBA basketball team The Phoenix Suns play a game. They compete in the Pacific section of the league but have lost their last five games.
It was also reported last week that Molango and academy coach Carlos Sureda are working on plans to keep our young emerging talent at the club, now we have some money behind us. It’s been the case over the years that as soon as we have some rising star at junior level the big boys swoop and take him away – more often than not never to be heard of again. Marco Asensio is a case in point, sold to Real Madrid, now on loan at Espanyol for God knows how long. He should never have been allowed to leave these shores for the knock-down price Real Madrid paid for him. I’ve watched Marco on TV regularly at Espanyol and his progress seems to have stalled.