Reus players celebrate their late winner, while Mallorca's Joan Oriol can't believe what's happened.

20-08-2016Miquel A. Borras

Real Mallorca, playing their first opening game at home for four years, were embarrassed by Reus from Catalonia (a modest pub team) 1-0 on a sweltering Saturday night. It was the visitors' first venture into the giddy heights of the Spanish second division (now rebranded as La Liga 123) since their foundation 107 years ago. Their players, according to reports on Saturday morning, were not of the same standard as us. After this result, we haven't won our opening fixture since relegation in 2013/14. The scapegoat for our defeat is coach Fernando Vazquez and his incomprehensible negative tactics, and he's been given a rollocking in the local media. Players started out of position, some looked completely lost. Pre-season should be the time for tactical experiments, not an important league game in front of your own fickle supporters. The Reus goalkeeper (modelling the latest in white onesies), Edgar Badia, didn't have a serious shot to save in 93 minutes. Is that terrible or what ?

All the pre-season ballyhoo about “good feelings” melted away in the Son Moix heat on Saturday night. 8,687 frustrated supporters vented their feelings at the end with some serious hankie waving, shouting “fuera, fuera, fuera”, and they clapped the victorious visitors off. But the new pitch looked good. It's our fans who were badly let down. Before the kick-off there was a first-game, new-season buzz in the bar as we were genuinely excited about the prospects in store, with various ramifications come next June. Fast forward 90 odd minutes and those same fans were back in the bar for a night-cap shaking their heads in disbelief after what they'd just witnessed.

We started on the front foot with Colunga and Brandon in attack, firing shots wide of the target as once again we failed to capitalise on what few chances came our way. Coach Fernando Vazquez's initial line-up contained three in midfield and it was there where most of our problems occurred. For me the biggest let-down was Deportivo loanee Juan Dominguez; he was tagged as our new midfield dynamo but in reality he was rarely seen.

Our best player for the 59 minutes he played was Lago Junior. He started off playing right back, moved down the flanks (not at the same time) then went back to defence, tackled, took throw-ins and at the end was seen steering the heavy roller over the pitch, which still looked good

Reus went a man down after 33 minutes, when full back Garcia, who had been booked twice for fouls on Lago Junior, was shown red. As usual we didn't stamp our authority on proceedings and went in at the break level, goalless and clueless.

The second half was more of the same, except Moutinho was dismissed after picking up two yellows. The second was a pretty innocuous foul but then he was gobby with our pedantic po-faced ref and he was off. When will football players learn to stop arguing with officials? Then in the 89th minute - disaster for Real Mallorca. Out of nothing Reus broke upfield and Benito shrugged off a couple of half-hearted tackles to send in a glorious shot from all of 20 yards to seal victory.

Summing up: Talk about opening day jitters, this was a savage defeat for the team and their supporters as Real Mallorca got off to the worst possible start on the back of two half-decent pre-season performances against West Brom and Granada. Vazquez's boys had no idea how to unlock Reus's tightly packed defence. They came to Palma hoping for a point and were involved in a smash-and-grab raid that gifted all three. We were a comedy of errors and those who chose the other top attraction over Real Mallorca on Saturday night, Simply Red, at least were entertained.

After the game I had several phone calls from disgruntled fans about our inept performance. Team selection and the tactical set up were the main rants. It's imperative we pick a team that can win home games not an experimental line-up.

As Billy Morris said: “Don't get too despondent, we're only three points off the top of the table. And the pitch still looks good.”

The coach went from “super contento” on Friday to “super negativo” on Saturday night and has a lot of work to do on the training ground this week. Even this early in the season knives are out regarding Vazquez's credibility.

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Silversurfer / Hace over 5 years

I read Monroe´s column regularly and often wonder if he´s been watching the same match as I have. This time, sadly, he´s spot on. Mallorca were diabolical.

+1-