After a weekend when, as if 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Chris Rea’s car failed its MOT ! – Real Mallorca were once again indisputable leaders of La Liga SmartBank when they had a magnificent 0-1 win away at Leganes, in a game billed as the “Duel of the Invincibles.” The result sees Mallorca (41) two points above second-placed Espanyol and three ahead of Almeria. Leganes in fourth are nine points behind us. The four teams with the biggest budgets in La Segunda are the quartet fighting it out for two automatic promotion places.
Leganes in their picturesque Butarque stadium had only lost once at home this season and before kick off Mallorquinistas would have been more than delighted with a draw.
The first half wasn’t a pretty watch but for the home side the sending off of their midfielder Rober Ibañez in the 39th minute was the writing on the wall. Ibañez had already been booked in the 28th minute for a rash challenge but he blotted his copybook big time elbowing Olivan in the face. Another pernickety whistle-happy referee (who penalised any contact) had no hesitation in showing the dreaded red card and, despite some vociferous complaints from Leganes, Ibañez was off to get first go at the loofah !
With Sanchez booked for Mallorca in the first half, coach Luis Garcia Plaza replaced him with the “new look” Jordi Mboula, now with a black and red coiffure. He’s more of a creative winger and his introduction stretched the home defence into making even more niggly fouls.
Our midfield of Salva Sevilla (who glues the team together) and Galaretta (I like the cut of his jib) began to put a stranglehold on a leaden-footed Leganes side who found it difficult to get out of their own half. They didn’t really create a single clear-cut chance with either 11 or 10 men as Mallorca began to ask questions.
Just past the hour mark Mallorca broke at speed and along came the all-important opening goal. Goalkeeper Reina cleared the ball to Galaretta who passed to Abdon, he dummied (step over !), setting up Amath who squeezed past two defenders, the ball took a ricochet leaving the Senegal striker the chance to score his third goal of the season, 0-1.
He dedicated it to fellow countryman Papa Bouba Diop, a former international who died on Wednesday at just 42. Amath has played in several attacking positions this season and always given 100%. That goal knocked the stuffing out of Leganes as they looked short of threat and the game got feisty towards the end.
It was time for the collywobbles as Mallorca players were being felled all over the place. Sastre took a tumble then Dani Rodriguez pulled up with a muscle problem, which means he’ll miss our last game of the year next Saturday in Palma against Fuenlabrada, kick off 18:15.
SUMMING UP : This was another huge win for Mallorca in a difficult place, facilitated in the 38th minute when Leganes had a player sent off.
We’ve now amassed 41 points after 18 games, which is remarkable, and we’ve kept our 14th clean sheet and are 17 matches unbeaten. Yes, we may stumble a bit in the New Year but right now we’re on fire. Visca Mallorca !
PS In the weird and wonderful world of Spanish football over the weekend, a Tenerife player created a new record when he was sent off after just 12 seconds in their 4-2 defeat at Oviedo. Real Madrid’s Under 9s thrashed SAD Villaverde San Andres 30-0 ! Real Madrid did show a modicum of respect by not posting the scoreline of the match on their website. Officials at Villaverde, however, complained that the situation in grass roots football “isn’t fair” ! Mallorca’s Croatian striker Ante Budimir, who literally went on strike to gain a move away to a La Liga side, is out on loan at Osasuna. They are now bottom of La Liga – wouldn’t it be ironic if they were relegated and we were promoted ?!
AND FINALLY, Who invented sex ?
A Greek and an Italian were talking one day, discussing who had the superior culture. Over the coffee, the Greek said “Well, we built the Parthenon.” The Italian replied “We built the Colosseum.”
The Greek retorted “We Greeks gave birth to mathematics.” The Italian nodded and countered “But we built the Roman Empire.”
And so on and on until the Greek came up with what he thought would end the discussion; with a flourish of finality, he declared “We invented sex !”
The Italian announced “That is true but it was the Italians who included women !!”