Real Mallorca brought the smiles back to the Son Moix faithful when they beat La Segunda's bottom side Nastic 2-0 in front of a derisory 5,998 crowd on Friday night. After two consecutive league defeats, it was imperative Mallorca got back to winning ways before the short Christmas break. Although we laboured a bit in the second half, we never looked likely to lose, especially when goalkeeper Manolo Reina didn't face a shot on target all night. The unexpected goal scoring protagonists were the Ecuadorian full back Pervis Estupiñan and Stoichkov.
Estupiñan took the place of Joan Sastre who, it looked like, had been punished for his costly error in Gijon last Saturday. It was a shrewd move by coach Vicente Moreno, and the young Watford loanee fired home from distance to put Mallorca ahead in the 31st minute. He was brought down just outside the area and in a training ground move, Salva Sevilla took the kick short to Pervis who was standing on the edge of the area. He took two touches, releasing a thunderbolt which took a deflection on the way in. That goal stirred the crowd in what had been a monotonous start, with neither side showing a lot of interest.
Once again Mallorca didn't look comfortable against a basement team that used any bit of skullduggery possible to break up attacks. Any chances the visitors had evaporated when they got close to the 18-yard box. The first half won't go down in history, as the fans warmed themselves up in the break with hot chocolate, hot dogs and pizzas. All that mattered was that we were ahead.
The second half didn't offer anything of note until the 83rd minute. Mallorca seemed to go to sleep thinking of their pending sopa de navidad and turrón. Our goalkeeper became the busiest man on the pitch, not through making saves but from a string of passbacks from his own players. Stoichkov came on for Aridai in the 71st minute and he scored the all-important second goal. Lago Junior won the ball in his own half and went on a lung-busting run the length of the pitch. He crossed the ball to the newly arrived Abdon Prats, who looked to have missed the scoring chance. However, the ball broke to Stoichkov who put it away with aplomb.
Near the end Salva Sevilla was replaced and was given a standing ovation for another top performance as he was his usual magistral self. You can count the bad games he's played on one hand.