After a week when Man Utd fans have welcomed the decision to continue the proposed (HS2) railway system into Manchester – it means they can all get home to London quicker after games at Old Trafford – Real Mallorca picked up only their second away point of the season when, in a topsy turvy game, they drew 3-3 at Real Betis on Friday night.
This was an unexpected and priceless point gained by the islanders as they enter the final straight in the race to stay up with 12 games left to play. The home side were the clear favourites but it was the visitors who did all the running early doors.
The introduction of 18-year-old Japanese wonder kid Take Kubo from the start (after being benched for the past five games) made all the difference, as he and 20-year-old Colombian striker Cucho Hernandez caused all kinds of problems for the Betis defence.
For the first time this season, Mallorca went ahead in an away game.
And what a stunning goal it was in the 16th minute, Cucho volleying home from all of 30 yards with Kubo involved in the build up.
The ball whistled past Joel Robles in the home goal and the 50,000 Betico crowd were hushed, 0-1. Cucho’s presence up front and in defence since Christmas has been a revelation and two goals in two games is justification for his tireless efforts.
However, that lead lasted only 90 seconds, as Betis poured forward (with some Mallorca players still celebrating the goal) and won a penalty.
Our Greek full back Koutris made a clumsy challenge on Fekir and it was a clear inside the area infringement. Canales made no mistake from the spot and Betis were back in the mix, 1-1.
Our opener seemed like a mirage. Betis suddenly wakened up and a Loren shot crashed back off the post. Then out of the blue in the 26th minute Mallorca doubled their score. Great play by Cucho and Kubo saw Budimir score his ninth of the season, 1-2. Mallorca were now in a situation they hadn’t been in all season. Could there be another twist in this crazy game?
Koutris had gone off injured to be replaced by Fran Gamez and before he’s had a proper kick at the ball, it hit his hand in the area, another penalty against us. This time Fekir stepped up and his effort went in although Reina got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out, 2-2.
We seem to be cursed when it comes to the left back position this season. I’ve never seen so many players picking up injuries in that position. After the break Mallorca fell back into their old ways and gave the ball away too often.
Baba after a magnificent first 45 minutes looked vulnerable as Betis turned on the gas. We went chasing another goal down the other end, Betis won the ball back on the counter attack and the 38 year old, every youthful Joaquin scored a brilliant solo goal, 3-2.
Before he went off, Baba fell over in the Betis area.
The referee awarded us a penalty but then changed his mind after VAR intervened. Mallorca were now involved in some backs to the wall defending. Baba went off and Lago Junior came on. He still doesn’t look right to me. Then in the 70th minute a half-hit shot from Kubo somehow eluded Robles and trickled over the line, 3-3.
SUMMING UP: This was a mad, entertaining game of football that Betis should have won and were disappointed not to. All praise to Mallorca for a gutsy performance which on Friday night got them out of the relegation bottom three.
However, our defence need to tighten up, we have now conceded 42 goals, joint worst with bottom club Espanyol.
Also conceding 12 penalties is the worst in La Primera Division. Has the tide turned for Real Mallorca? The draw and the performance was a morale booster as we take on the most feared team in Spain, third-placed Getafe, next Sunday at 18:30 in Son Moix. A difficult game but Getafe have to play Ajax in the Europa League on Thursday. Maybe they’ll be tired!!
Mallorca are on the verge of signing the out-of-contract 31-year-old South Korean captain Ki Sung-Yong who’s been without a club since leaving Newcastle United in January. The mid-fielder has had extensive experience of playing in the UK making over 187 appearances with 15 goals and 11 assists for Celtic, Swansea City, the once mighty Sunderland and the Magpies. Ki Sung-Yong has 110 caps for South Korea and has appeared in three world cups and the 2012 Olympics. Sung-Yong would occupy the last and third permitted non-EU place, alongside Cucho and Kubo.
The South Korean’s time at Celtic wasn’t without incident. In 2010 he went to take a corner kick in a game at St Johnstone only to be greeted by “woof woof” noises followed by a chorus of “Who ate all the dogs?” – a reference to South Korea’s penchant for all things canine!!
PS A time and date have been announced for the upcoming Barcelona game in Son Moix. It’s to be played on Saturday, March 14 at 18:30.
AND FINALLY, a petrol station owner in Ireland was trying to increase his sales, so he put up a sign “Free sex with fill-up.” Paddy pulled in, filled his tank and asked for free sex.
The owner told him to pick a number from 1 to 10, if he guessed correctly, we would get his free sex. Paddy guessed 8 and the proprietor said “You were close but not close enough. Sorry, no sex this time.”
A week later Paddy, along with his friend Mick, pulled in for another fill-up. Again he asked for his free sex. The proprietor gave him the same story and asked him to guess the correct number. Paddy guessed 2. The proprietor answered “Sorry, it was 3, you were close but no free sex for you this time.” As they were driving away, Mick said to Paddy “I think that game is rigged and he doesn’t really give away free sex at all, at all.” Paddy replied “No Mick, it’s genuine enough, my missus won twice last week!”