Players and fans celebrate Saturday's win against Almeria.

20-05-2017

Real Mallorca continued their great escape act when they beat Almeria 1-0 in front of 12,940 nail-biting fans last Saturday night. As the Palma side reach the business end of a troubled season, Saturday's vital win sees the team moving up one place in La Segunda and just two points from salvation. Before kick-off Mallorca had four matches left to play and they needed to win all of them. The 1-0 scoreline suggests a tight, cagey game, though in truth it wasn't. Mallorca dominated play for 70 minutes, forced nine corners in the first half, all of which came to nothing.

We were fastest out of the blocks and Lago Junior came close early doors. The Ivorian's pace and darting runs spread panic in a ponderous visiting defence. Even after a quarter of an hour fans were still pouring into a sun-baked Son Moix as we laid siege to the Almeria goal. After a series of near misses, the deadlock was finally broken with a brilliant goal in the 33rd minute. Moutinho fed Brandon just outside the area, he wriggled past a couple of challenges to curve his shot past a beaten Casto in the Almeria goal, 1-0. Mallorca were playing with a new-found zip and cohesion not seen often in the Son Moix this season. The midfield pairing of Sasa and Alex Vallejo fizzed with energy and incisive passes but once again without a recognised target man up front we missed three or four straightforward chances. As half-time arrived there was a real buzz about the Son Moix but we all knew things were on a knife edge if we couldn't double our lead.

With 72 minutes on the clock, coach Sergi Barjuan made his first change, bringing off an indifferent Moutinho, who'd been blowing hot and cold all game, replacing him with Culio. Almeria, who were a pretty poor side, began to creep back into the game. Then Sergi made a head-scratching substitution which nearly cost us the game, replacing Brandon Thomas for a defender, Jon Ansotegi - in effect we'd now got three centre halves and only Lago up front. He was magnificent, he played down the right wing, then down the left wing, through the middle and made a couple of defending tackles; another ten like him and we wouldn't be in our present predicament. By now Almeria were putting us under pressure as time began to run out. Their striker Fidel ballooned an easy chance over the bar and Mallorca just got over the line to pick up a vital three points and a clean sheet.


Summing up: Once again Real Mallorca put their loyal fans through the emotional wringer, in what was the best game seen in the Son Moix this season. It's such a shame the supporters' federation didn't supply flags and mosaics which would have added to the atmosphere. It makes such a difference when the ground is buzzing. Having said that, with such an important game which could have gone either way, it was unbelievable to see so many fans leaving the ground long before the end. We definitely have the most exciting end to a season for a long time, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Now Mallorca have to do it all again next Sunday in the Son Moix against Numancia.

The Soria outfit are on 48 points and lie in 15th place so have nothing to play for. If Mallorca play anywhere close to how they did against Almeria, then the great escape is definitely back on the menu. Our crunch game is away at basement side Mirandes in two weeks' time. There's sure to be an exodus of local fans wanting to go to Burgos where their tiny Anduva ground's capacity is just 6,000.

After Saturday's game coach Sergi Barjuan said his team were brave and showed vigilance in defence. “The supporters were with us and today we showed we can win games. If we play like today I believe our objectives will be achieved.” There's no doubt Sergi has made a difference to our mentality and unity. We played like a team on a mission, it's just the final third where things don't work out. As we trooped out of the ground to the tune “Mallorqueta” fans began chanting, “Sí, se puede” (yes, we can).

The pressure's far from off, we must keep the momentum going next Sunday when again free tickets will be made available. Ideally, we now need ex-Mallorquinista Pep Luis Marti to take his Tenerife side, who are in the second play-off position, to Alcorcon, two points ahead of us, and beat them on Sunday.

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