A fter a week when I read this rather harsh review of Ben Nevis on social media – “Very steep, too high and no facilities at the top!” – Real Mallorca’s midfielder Dani Rodriguez hit the game’s only goal with five minutes remaining, giving Mallorca their first three points and their first goal of the season in a 1-0 win. Once again at home we showed a sad and predictable image and only won this game when opponents Sabadell had a player (ex Mallorca B defender Pierre) sent off near the end, after being shown two yellows in quick succession. The visitors persisted in putting ten men behind the ball making any attempts at a shot on target very few and far between. Our crosses from either flank into the penalty area left a lot to be desired and we were woefully weak in attack.
Words fail me about the first half because most of what action there was took place in and around the centre circle. We dominated midfield but the lack of clarity at the top end of the pitch continues to be a problem. Coach Luis Garcia selected Abdon Prats to lead the attack and he was invisible. In the middle Baba, Salva Sevilla and Dani Rodriguez were back to their promotion-winning positions but they didn’t get a grip on the game at any time. Baba gave the ball away on numerous occasions and Salva Sevilla never stamped his normal authority in the engine room. The Palma side started with new signing Mboula down the right but he looked way off the pace.
In the second half the coach replaced him, giving a baptism to the Brazilian Murilo, who was more involved than Mboula. Abdon missed a half chance in the 68th minute and that was about all he did all game apart from bending the referee’s ear on numerous occasions. The game looked doomed to be yet another goal-less draw until the coach pulled off a master substitution, one which I had been banging on about all afternoon.
The bleached-haired Stoichkov (who scored 16 goals and 12 assists on loan at Mirandes last season) came on near the end and the whole game changed. He made the best pass of the night, setting up Dani Rodriguez who belted in the winner from distance as his effort whistled past Mackay in the Sabadell goal to put Mallorca ahead. The Mallorcafé erupted, we’d scored our first goal of the season and looked on course to win our first game of the season, 1-0. The fans didn’t care how we played, just as long as they saw the ball bulge the net and what a difference a win makes to put the smiles back on the Mallorquinistas’ faces in what is going to be a very, very long season. There’s no question Real Mallorca miss their fans in the Son Moix, especially the Ultras behind the North goal – their contribution is always worth a goal start. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to Spanish fans returning to watch their teams play. It’s something that I’ve sorely missed this season, it’s just not the same viewing it on TV.
Mallorca made very heavy weather of this win, considering our goal keeper Manolo Reina did not have to make a single save all game. Once again at home we were poor, being described as lethargic and sleep-inducing in the local press. It took us almost half an hour to threaten the Sabadell goal. Want-away striker Budimir watched proceedings from the stand and we have to sort out his situation in less than a week. We are crying out for a quality striker. It’s ironic that our only goal came from a midfielder as our attacking options were virtually nothing and the coach needs to select Stoichkov from the start against Tenerife in Palma next Saturday at 18:15.
We have to improve because the feelings after this game were not good. Mallorca need much more quality if they want to be anywhere near a promotion spot come the end of the season.
After this week’s games in La Liga SmartBank, Sporting Gijon are top on 9 points, with much-fancied Espanyol second on 7. Mallorca, after Sunday’s win, rise to the heady heights of 11th out of 22, and face Tenerife (now lying 13th) next Saturday who lost 1-2 to Mirandes at home.
A farmer from Yorkshire sees a bloke drinking from his stream and shouts “Ey up lad, tha dun wanna be drinkin watta from theer, it’s full o’ hoss p**s and cow sh**e.”
The bloke says “I am from London, can you speak a bit slower and more distinctly please?”
The farmer replies “If...you...use.. two...hands... you...won’t...spill...any!!!”