During a week when I was told about this item on a Majorcan village menu-del-dia restaurant blackboard “Sopa de albondigas de carne madura” – translated underneath into English as “Old cow’s balls in brown sauce”! – Real Mallorca lost their sixth straight away game this season, going down cruelly in Valencia to Levante 2-1.
The Palma side looked dangerous from the kick-off and with only a minute on the clock were denied a clear penalty. Febas broke in the area and looked to be fouled by Postigo.
I’ve rewound the incident umpteen times and it looked a stonewall spot kick.
Also in added-on time a Levante defender clearly handled in the area and the referee was unmoved. Señor Pizarro Gomez didn’t even consult VAR for either of these incidents, when the main reason the system was installed was to sort out such marginal decisions – Mallorca were robbed.
The islanders were on top for the first 25 minutes and Ante Budimir should have put us ahead in the 11th minute. His header was brilliantly parried away by Aitor Fernandez but a striker of the Croatian’s quality should have bulged the net.
I give “Budi” 10 out of 10 for effort but over the last few games he’s missed some scoreable opportunities.
After half an hour Mallorca seemed to go to sleep, allowing the slick passing Levante to regain a foothold in the game.
For the first time in ages our goalkeeper Manolo Reina looked jittery with the high ball.
Levante by this time had lost two players to hamstring injuries but those who came off their bench more than compensated for departed colleagues.
Half time 0-0. After the interval Levante found another gear as Mallorca found the pace of the home attack hard to handle. In the 51st minute Levante took the lead with a goal that was simplicity itself.
Substitute Duarte whipped over a curved cross that was beautifully headed in by Roger, 1-0.
Could Mallorca get back into the game? Yes, they did with a great move down the right flank. Kubo (who else) was heavily involved in the build up. He passed to Sastre inside the home penalty area and the Porreras-born left back crossed for an unmarked Dani Rodriguez to square things up, 1-1. Jorge Miramon was fast becoming a thorn in Mallorca’s side and he was involved in Levante’s second in the 72nd minute. He passed to Ruben Rochina and the ex Blackburn Rovers flop let fly from all of 35 metres. The ball whizzed past Reina, who had no chance, and nestled just inside the right post, GOLAZO, 2-1.
That has to be the goal of the weekend by some distance.
Mallorca’s coach Vicente Moreno now had to throw caution to the wind and introduced the Argentinian striker Chavarria in the 76th minute. I don’t think he touched the ball.
Towards the end, mayhem took over as Levante saw another player hobbling with hamstring problems, then had Campaña sent off for a second yellow offence – head butting Dani Rodriguez (not the best “Glasgow kiss” I’ve ever seen, however, I’ll give him 2 out of 10 for effort). In added-on time Mallorca poured forward.
Kubo had what looked like a goal-bound equaliser brilliantly tipped over by Fernandez.
Then with goalkeeper Manolo Reina joining in the attack, substitute Abdon Prats’ effort with the last kick of the game cannoned off the crossbar, heartbreak for Real Mallorca who on this showing deserved at least a point.
SUMMING UP: This game had drama and intensity but, above all, regarding Real Mallorca, too many missed chances. We have to learn in this quality league that even a half-opportunity has to be scored.
Alex Febas once again started the game as our best player but then faded. Alongside him was the impish “Japanese Messi” Kubo, who appears to be getting better every time he plays. We really missed the injured Lago Junior as our build up became pedestrian for long periods.
It was a case of so near yet so far and we still can’t get a point on the road. Friday night’s result means our next home game against Real Betis (Musho Betis !) next Saturday at 18:30 is a proper six pointer!