Real Mallorca face thirteenth-placed Lugo at their tiny Anxo Carro stadium on Sunday at 5pm. Lugo (Los Lucenses) have won seven games at home, drawn six, lost four, and haven’t won a match since mid-March. In their squad is ex-Mallorca player, Palma-born Pau Cendros, although their leading scorer Pablo Caballero is missing, which is a big loss for them but good news for us. The corresponding fixture last season saw us lose 4-0 after having a player sent off in the first half.
The second division is so tight that Lugo are only six points behind near neighbours and third top Oviedo, so with only eight games left to play they can’t afford any more slip-ups at home, as they make a push for the play-offs. Mallorca coach Fernando Vazquez has a squad with more or less a clean bill of health, with the exception of Truyols and a suspended Yuste. Good news came in the week when David Costas was back in full training after two months out with a broken toe. It’s too early for the loanee from Celta Vigo to start playing competitively so it’s more than likely he’ll start against joint league leaders Alaves next Saturday at the Son Moix. Biel Company may come in at centre-back alongside our Argentinian-born captain Lucas Aveldaño. Young Kasim Adams played there last week against Osasuna and was involved in their penalty equaliser but there’s also a chance he could make the initial line-up. He’s brilliant in the air but the young Ghanaian’s distribution and tackling leave a lot to be desired.
Our coach said at his weekly press conference on Friday: “Sunday’s game is another ‘final’ for us and it looks likely we’ll suffer right until the end of the season.” If the Palma side score first, then they’ll have to try and break an unenviable hoodoo which has haunted us all season – the total incapability of holding on to a one-goal lead. Ten times this campaign we’ve gone one up and ten times we’ve blown all three points. Out of these 10 games we’ve drawn six and lost four. It’s going to be a difficult game tonight and there’s now talk about Mallorca needing 50 points to be safe for next season; we’re currently on 39 points with eight games remaining.
Joining the travelling party was club president and now 20% shareholder Utz Claassen. He’s been missing from the palco (director’s box) for several weeks through illness and we wish him well in his recuperation. His plans to turn the Son Moix pitch 90% in the summer from north/south to east/west have been scuppered by the club’s new owners. It was reported last week that general manager Maheta Molango has told Palma council (who still own Son Moix) that the ambitious programme, which many fans were dead against, won’t now go ahead and that the idea of removing the obsolete running track remains more of a priority.
Despite the scant coverage, if any, of Spanish football, especially Real Mallorca, on the several English-language local radio stations I can pick up on the wireless at home, La Liga’s presently encapsulating the highs and lows of arguably the best league in the world (four teams in European football’s top two competitions’ semi-finals), as Spanish sides maintain their hegemony in European competition.
Many immigrant British football fans on this island show total apathy for Spanish football, including Real Mallorca. They seem to be stuck in an English premiership bubble. Last weekend I met a new face at the Son Moix. When he was told I write about Real Mallorca for the Bulletin, he commented: “It must be a very small column!” Nothing like kicking a frustrated long-time Mallorca fan when he’s down, and his team’s having a traumatic season.