After a week when I was given a useful tip – “Need to get unwanted junk removed quickly during the upcoming holiday period? Put it in empty Amazon boxes and leave it outside your front door!” – Real Mallorca are two points clear at the top of La Liga SmartBank when they easily beat nine-man Logroñes 4-0 on Sunday night.
This game got off to the most dramatic start I’ve witnessed for many a long day. With just two minutes on the clock the Logroñes goalkeeper Santamaria picked up a pass back from defender Lopez which meant we’d won a direct free kick from 10 yards out. With all 11 Logroñes players standing on the goal line, Salva Sevilla’s shot was handled on the line by Lopez so it was a clear penalty and a straight red card for the Logroñes defender – harsh, a yellow would have sufficed, in my opinion.
Up stepped Dani Rodriguez who scored from the spot on Thursday against Cartagena, unfortunately he under-hit the penalty and Santamaria saved the effort. However three players had encroached in the area so the kick was retaken. Again Dani took responsibility and again he missed from 12 yards. Santamaria guessed correctly and saved again but this time Salva netted the spillage, 1-0. Logroñes were really up against it early doors and never really recovered as Mallorca took control. Logroñes gave it a good go but once again poor finishing and good defending saw most of their attacks come to nothing. In the 40th minute Galaretta had a shot from distance brilliantly pushed onto the upright by Santamaria as Mallorca pressed for their second. In the 41st minute it came. A scuffed shot from Dani Rodriguez found Amath unmarked in front of the Logroñes goal and he had all the time in the world to drive the ball into the net, 2-0 at half time.
Logroñes lost their goalkeeper in the 50th minute with what looked like a thigh muscle problem and he was replaced by the Ukranian stopper Yari. He made a string of good saves to keep out a rampant Mallorca and it looked like it was only a matter of time before they made it three.
By now coach Luis Garcia Plaza had begun to ring the changes. Febas came on for Galaretta, Antonio Sanchez made way for Murilo (who again looked well off the pace) and the almost-forgotten fan’s favourite Abdon Prats came on for Amath. In the 68th minute Fran Gamez zipped over a cross from the right and Abdon hammered home number three. When that went in the roof nearly came off the Mallorcafé. This was Abdon’s first goal since he scored the unforgettable promotion-winning third goal against Deportivo in June 2019.
If the roof nearly came off for that one, the next goal brought the house down. Dani Rodriguez, who unusually for him had a game to forget, departed in the 75th minute and on came Luka Romero to make his professional debut at the age of 16 years and 11 days and it was one the youngster will never forget. Salva Sevilla slipped the ball through to the “Mexican Messi” and he hit an absolute belter in off the far post to become the second youngest goalscorer ever in Spanish professional football. The first ever such feat was achieved back in 1949 by some guy called Joe Saez of Albacete when he was just 15 years old. His goal probably put a few more thousand euros on Luka’s market value and we now have to hope he puts pen to paper and stays for a few more years.
By this stage Logroñes had another player injured and as they had used all five substitutes they finished with nine men.
SUMMING UP: Logroñes came to Palma as one of the in-form teams winning six games on the bounce and keeping five clean sheets in the process. Wily old “Silver Fox” Salva Sevilla was involved in most of the good stuff we produced, he reads the game so well and his experience is vital to Real Mallorca as they push for a quick return to La Liga.
The game had an unbelievable start and there was more happening in the first 10 minutes than a lot of the 90 minute stuff seen this season. Luka said after the game “The truth is when I scored the goal, I started crying. I remembered my parents and all the people who support me and I thought it was a dream. That goal is for Maradona and my grandmother watching from above.”
Next up it’s an away game at another club with a big budget and big ideas, Almeria. That’s on Thursday night at 7 o’clock. Then we’re at home against Castellon on Monday at 9pm.
PS Gaffe of the week was BBC Radio 5 saying that tributes had poured in with regard to the passing of Diego Maradona, including one from Johan Cruyff – he died in 2016, oops!
AND FINALLY, my neighbour’s son came home from school the other day in tears. “Dad, they wouldn’t pick me to play football today for the class – it’s not fair, I’m not that rubbish.” His father consoled him saying “Now then, son, don’t be too disappointed. Think about your pal Mike who’s in a wheelchair and think yourself lucky you’re not like him.” The boy answered “I wish I was like him, Dad. He’s playing in goal!”