Shareholder Andy Kohlberg (second right) was at the match on Sunday, making reassuring noises about the club's future and direction.

12-02-2017Miquel Àngel Llabrés

Real Mallorca won for only the sixth time this season when they beat Madrid side Rayo Vallecano 2-1 after a brilliant first half saw them go two up in 20 minutes.

The Palma side had set their stall out early doors and at last played crisp one-touch passing football which put Rayo on the back foot. It was no surprise when we went ahead after 14 minutes. Rayo defender Amaya made a mess of a clearance, the ball broke kindly for Brandon whose brilliant pass fed Lago Junior and his rasping shot into the bottom corner put Mallorca one up.

Five minutes later the islanders doubled their lead, Rayo's Aguirre bundled Culio over in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. The aggrieved Culio picked himself up and hammered home the penalty - straight down the middle. We looked to be on cruise control as a poor Rayo's side defended for their lives. The visitors also looked incapable of mounting an attack but all that was about to change after half time. Rayo's coach made two tactical substitutions during the break which turned the game on its head. The introduction of Beltran and Doval suddenly put a spring in Rayo's step and after a comparatively easy time for our defence, we were now under severe pressure.

Two minutes into the second period and Rayo pulled a soft one back. A header from ex-Mallorca player Alex Moreno was our wake-up call and the goal put the Madrid side back in the game. Every time Rayo came forward now they looked dangerous and some resolute defending from Mallorca saw us just keep our noses in front.

Halfway through the second period, coach Olaizola made two changes, taking off a tiring Culio and Moutinho for James and Salomao as Mallorca began to get stretched by a resurgent Rayo. Somehow we held on for an important victory in a game we never looked like losing but it was a very worrying last ten minutes.

Summing up: Mallorca made all the early running in the first half, which had a good flow to it. Javier Olaizola said last week that he was instilling a winning mindset on his players as he reckoned a lot of our troubles stemmed from losing concentration. On Sunday in the second half we suddenly lacked intensity and looked like a side who had lost all of the aforementioned concentration. There were several shocking give-aways from normally reliable central defenders, but it was music to the fans' and players' ears alike when a decent referee (no yellow cards for us, for a change) blew for time.

Two of our January transfer window signings had great games, central midfielder Sasa broke up several dangerous attacks but it was Man City loanee Angeliño who took the eye. Getting no starting time at Girona earlier this season he moved to Palma on the proviso from the Etihad that he must play in games. Occasionally on Sunday he looked the best player on the pitch and, as most modern full backs do, spent more time in attack than in defence. The combination of Lago Junior and Brandon up front caused ructions in the Rayo rearguard as they ran at defenders, but Mallorca must again realise that a game lasts 90+ minutes. We have to learn to see games out instead of always spending the last 20 minutes looking over our shoulders. The Palma side nearly blew a two-goal lead on Sunday but emerged victorious. The three points gained against Rayo were vital in our quest to get back up the league. As it stands, we're just one point above the relegation drop zone with a very difficult away match at second top Girona next Saturday.

Comments

To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

Currently there are no comments.