After a weekend when Katie Melua was set to release a follow-up single to Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing – Seven Million Brollies in Hong Kong! – Real Mallorca won their first game back in La Liga after a six-year absence when they beat Basque side Eibar 2-1 in a sultry Son Moix evening in front of 15,127 fans on Saturday.
After just one game, and for the first time in 12 years, we go above Barcelona in La Primera and are in a Champions League spot! (Dream on Monro ! Ed.)
This was a gutsy showing from Mallorca who got off to the perfect start scoring after just three minutes. Dani Rodriguez controlled a pass from Aleix Febas on the halfway line, took off like a rat up a drainpipe, leaving Eibar defenders in his wake before slipping the ball past Dimitrovic for the opener.
Rodriguez (now 31) dreamt of one day playing and scoring in La Liga – that dream came true on Saturday night. After he scored, for some unknown reason, a well indifferent referee Melero Lopez asked for a VAR check, which seemed to take an eternity.
The goal stood and Mallorca were ahead, very early doors, 1-0. Minutes later we should have doubled our advantage. Salva Sevilla set up Budimir a yard out, he had to score but inexplicably managed to balloon the chance over the bar – an early contender for howler of the season. At this level we need to put away even a half chance.
Just before the “bocadillo” break, Lago Junior saw another chance parried round the post as we went in a goal ahead. Could we sustain the momentum in what was a very humid evening?
We didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Visiting coach Mendilibar shuffled his midfield around and Eibar began to threaten, creating space down the flanks, as Mallorca came under severe pressure. Two blinding saves from Manolo Reina kept us in the game but in the 56th minute Eibar grabbed an equaliser. Reina again spectacularly kept out an Enrich effort but couldn’t hold on to the shot; Oliveira was handy to bang in the loose ball, 1-1.
One of the hallmarks of Vicente Moreno’s Real Mallorca side over the past two years has been their never-say-die attitude and that showed when shots from the omnipresent Dani Rodriguez (the best box to box player we’ve had for many moons) and a strangely subdued Lago Junior showed the game was far from over.
Then Lady Luck paid a welcome visit. Joan Sastre (what an engine this young man has) sped down the right flank, whipped over a cross and, in an attempt to clear, Oliveira sliced the ball into his own net (whoops !), 2-1.
THE VERDICT: Eibar threw everything at us in the second half but solid defending kept them at bay – just! We got off to the best possible start in what was an outstanding team effort. Young Baba in mid field gets better by the game and is turning into a quality player. Son Moix remains a fortress but that will be severely tested next Sunday at 5 pm (a ridiculous and dangerous time to play a football match, it was 32° in the shade at that time in our garden on Sunday), when the potent Real Sociedad pay us a visit. More on them in Sunday’s Fan’s View.
Our American owner, Robert Sarver, and the president Andy Kohlberg arrived unexpectedly at the game after flying in from Phoenix, Arizona. Sarver was challenged by a Son Moix security guard when he went in without his security pass round his neck. It was a “Do you know who I am?” scenario but both saw the funny side of the incident.
The UK betting company Betfred are our new shirt sponsors in a two-year deal worth more than two million euros. That will go a long way to pay the players’ increased wages. Betfred has a burgeoning online and mobile presence and have recently been given a license to operate in Spain.
AND FINALLY, a man boards a plane at Heathrow bound for New York. As he takes his seat, he notices a very attractive woman walking up the aisle towards him. She sits right next to him, back of the net!
He blurts out “Business trip or vacation ?” She smiles sweetly and replies “Business, I’m going to the annual nympho’s convention in Madison Square Garden.” The man swallows hard; here, sitting next to him is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen AND she’s going to a meeting for nymphomaniacs. How good is that?
The woman explains that she’s a lecturer and is going to debunk some of the myths about sexuality. The man asks “What myths are those then?” She tells him “One myth is that African American men are the most well endowed with nature’s blessings when, in fact, it’s the Native American Indian who is most likely to possess that trait."
“Another myth is that French men are the best lovers, when actually it’s men of Greek descent. We also found that the best potential lovers in all categories are the Scots.” Suddenly the woman blushes, “Sorry, I really shouldn’t be discussing this with you, I don’t even know your name!” “Geronimo,” the man answers, “Geronimo Papadopoulos, but my friends call me ‘Jock’!!”