Real Mallorca suffered the consequences of paying too much respect to visiting Atletico Madrid in front of 19,348 fans on Wednesday night, losing 0-2, which leaves us hovering around the bottom three in La Liga. This was a real David and Goliath encounter with the difference in class there for all to see. Atletico’s players even looked bigger and stronger than us and were far ahead possession-wise, 30/70 in the first half. After just 35 seconds, alarm bells started to ring as Costa came close for Los Colchoneros (the mattress makers), that gave us a taste of things to come over the next hour and a half. A lot of Mallorca players simply didn’t turn up for this game and Salva Sevilla, Baba and Dani Rodriguez had games I’m sure they’d rather forget. To play against class sides like Atletico, we need everybody in the team to be at the top of their game. On Wednesday night only Kubo could be said to be anywhere near that.
On 26 minutes Koke took a corner kick for the visitors, the ball was only half cleared and Koke put the ball back in the mix, Diego Costa sneaked in between two defenders to head in the opener, 0-1. I was just surprised it had taken them so long to open their account, as Mallorca spent the rest of the first half playing catch up. At half time the queues at the food outlets snaked for miles, with the pizza boys and girls doing a roaring trade.
There was a notable change in Mallorca after the break and they even started asking a few questions of the visiting defence. Then in the 64th minute came the second for Cholo Simeone’s boys and, in reality, the game was over. Koke was involved again, taking a short free kick to ex Mallorca player Thomas Partey. He passed to Joao Felix and the young Portuguese protege switched the ball from his right foot to his left before seeing his half-hit shot come off Budimir, with the ball trickling agonisingly over the line via the post, 0-2. Talking of posts, Mallorca hit another one on Wednesday night, that’s five times that’s happened in six games (unlucky or what?). By now “Atleti” were back in full control and passed the ball around comfortably like a training session with shouts of “Olé, olé” from their large travelling support.
Our coach Vicente Moreno went for the all out attack system, bringing on Trajkovski (Tchaikovsky!), Alex Alegria and Abdon Prats for Lago Junior, Baba and Budimir respectively. All that bench movement was too little too late as “Atleti” ran out comfortable winners. VAR came into use when Sastre was alleged to have handled in the area. Referee Sr Hernandez Hernandez consulted the TV screen beside the tunnel, then chalked the penalty decision off. It was later revealed that the ball had hit Felix on the arm. In the 77th minute came the game’s major talking point. Morata had just come on and after Xisco Campos went in hard, Morata took umbrage to the coming together and attempted to head butt Xisco – yellow card for Morata. A minute later he tried the “Glasgow kiss” again, this time on Salva Sevilla and the referee had no option but to send Morata off. After the final whistle he had another altercation with a fan in the Son Moix corridors before being restrained by Diego Costa.
Atletico Madrid showed the gulf in class between the top and near the bottom of La Primera, with a comfortable three points on Wednesday night. We rarely threatened Jan Oblak in “Atleti’s” goal and the midfield of Koke, Saul and Thomas completely dominated the game. It looked like the visitors were far from full throttle and could have upped a couple of gears if they needed to.
Another learning curve for Real Mallorca as they travel to Vitoria to play Alaves on Sunday at 4pm. At the time of writing, they’ve only scored two goals in four games, so hopefully we will get some much-needed points and start rising up the table.
PS There’s been all kinds of renovations done in the bowels of the Son Moix, one of which is an area with a wall of fame. On one of the murals are ex playing legends like Nunes, Ibagaza, Eto’o, Asensio and Guiza. Boy, could we have done with all of them on Wednesday night!