Gutsy Real Mallorca’s unlikely bid for survival (according to some so-called experts) was given a huge boost on Thursday night when they beat Valencian club Levante 2-0 at the Visit Mallorca Estadi. We went ahead in the 40th minute when Pozo (the full back on loan from Sevilla) combined with Cucho Hernandez and the Colombian headed in a beauty 1-0. Pozo had easily his best game since arriving in January. The Palma side netted their second six minutes from time when Kubo prodded home after a goal-mouth melee to give Vicente Moreno’s boys what can only be described as a momentous hard-fought victory. The reaction from the Mallorca coaching staff on the bench when we doubled our lead showed just how important this win was in the relegation dogfight. The win transfers all the pressure to Alaves who played Real Madrid in the capital last night and were just three points ahead of us and with a very complicated remaining itinerary.
Mallorca showed their intentions from the first few minutes and they should have been two up in as many minutes. First Dani Rodriguez then Cucho Hernandez missed what looked like clear cut chances as Mallorca showed just how important this game was. Moreno had picked what the local media call his “Gala” first XI which are in fact the best 11 players we have. We actually had 10 shots in the first half which is more than we have had in any other 45 minutes played this season.
Dani Rodriguez looked to have been fouled in the area as Tono made contact (Dani didn’t take a knee, he took two!!). The Galician numpty referee was nonplussed, so much so that he booked Dani for diving – replays showed there was definitely a coming together. Mallorca were rewarded for their persistence when Cucho headed in the opener and it’s amazing how high he can jump for such a small attacker.
After the break, Levante started much better, taking the initiative and forced Manolo Reina into making a couple of saves. I lost count of the number of blocks our defence made with Martin Valjent performing heroics alongside Raillo at the heart of the defence. As always with Real Mallorca, a one-goal lead is never enough and even after watching them for over thirty years I wore another hole in our carpet !
The clock ticked down as Levante poured forward. Somehow our goal was leading a charmed life. Then six minutes from time came the all-important second. The ball was pinging around in the Levante area before Kubo finished off a rebound that fell to his feet, 2-0.
Levante again dominated as Moreno rung the changes. Cucho was taken off, much to his displeasure, but with a tricky away game at Sevilla on Sunday night at 10 pm, the substitution made sense. Lago Junior came on near the end, he’s been very disappointing this season and his form has folded like a deckchair on a windy Bournemouth beach (if there was enough room for one the other weekend)! This was a real gritty win for Mallorca and for the second time this season they have had back to back home wins and have kept a clean sheet.
Our last home game is next Thursday against Granada and Real Mallorca have ignited the relegation battle with a vital win. We now have a much better chance of staying up. All the games in the last two rounds of La Liga (match days 37 and 38) will kick off at the same time. Visca Mallorca!