At the end, Valjent's (24) body language says it all

At the end, Valjent's (24) body language says it all.

12-01-2021MIQUEL A. BORRAS

After a weekend when the Washington Post’s bad metaphors competition was won by this entry “She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like the sound a dog makes just before it throws up !” – Real Mallorca entered their first crisis of the 2020/21 season when they lost 0-1 to Las Palmas on Sunday. This was the Canary Islanders’ first away win of the season and comes a week after they beat league leaders Espanyol 1-0. There is no need once again for Mallorca to make any excuses, feeble or otherwise. On Sunday we were bloody awful and in a game where we created hardly any danger to the visiting defence they went ahead to a fortuitous goal in the 20th minute. On one of their few forays forward in the first half an hour, the ball broke kindly for long-time Las Palmas stalwart, Argentinian Sergio Araujo, and he, despite being hemmed in by defenders, poked in the game’s only goal.

Going behind should have spurred Mallorca on whereas, instead, they lacked any intensity and there was no sign of the characteristic pressure after they lost the ball. Las Palmas continued to give Mallorca’s defence a problem, especially down the flanks, where we were non-existent. We looked all over the place and never looked up for the job in hand.

In the second half, Mallorca were marginally better but with no “killer thrust” in the penalty area. Abdon Prats ploughed a lone furrow up front, he worked his socks off, but surely when we play at home and need a win, should we not play two strikers from the start ?

Without question we missed the suspended Galarreta in midfield and Baba once again failed to show the form that made him so influential last season. Dani Rodriguez made a return after three weeks’ injury inactivity but he looked inconsequential and never got involved.

We showed slight improvement when Murilo and Olivan came on for Lago Junior and Cufre. Once again Lago showed he’s a shadow of the match-winning player he was two years ago. The introduction of the substitutes upped the tempo but we were now seeing less and less of the ball as Las Palmas began to wind down the clock with their theatrical shenanigans. They stopped attacking and instead started falling down with imaginary injuries including cramp.

Our coach Luis Garcia Plaza brought on rookie striker Diabate from the B team. The Ivorian youngster came on ahead of Alex Alegria who looks likely to be going out on a loan deal. It’s now a priority to bring in another striker as Abdon can’t do it all on his own.

The introduction of Olivan saw some crosses going over and he was instrumental in almost scoring an equaliser near the end. This was a game to forget, we now don’t have a league match for two weeks when we’re away at Rayo Vallecano – a vast improvement is required.

SUMMING UP : Despite this defeat, Mallorca reach the halfway point in the season with an impressive 42 points. Espanyol beat Castellon to go three points clear at the top and were crowned unofficial Winter Champions. Almeria’s game was cancelled so they remain one point behind us, and look a major threat to our automatic promotion chances. Las Palmas were one of those “nothing special” second division sides which makes Sunday’s result all the worse.

Luis Garcia Plaza’s team were unable to react to Araujo’s 20th minute strike and lost their third home game of the season and their second in a row. It was easily our worst game of the campaign so far and the outcome becomes a worry. One point from nine available is very far from the image that we’d been offering in the first half of the season. With hardly any opportunities in either half, Las Palmas knew how to read our game and ex West Brom “gaffer” Pepe Mel had done his homework. We’ve now gone four games without winning. A couple of weeks ago I said there will be bumps on the road to promotion throughout the season and on Sunday we hit a huge pothole.

AND FINALLY, a couple meet on Tinder dating site and arrange a date. When they meet he asks “How’s about we skip all the formalities and get married ?” She replies “But we don’t know anything about each other.” He says “No problem, we’ll get to know each other over time.” She then has a think and answers “Do you know what, I’ve got nothing to lose, let’s go for it.”

So they get married and jet off to the sun for their honeymoon. On the first day they are lounging by the pool when he suddenly gets up, walks to the deep end of the pool and climbs up to the very highest diving board. He dives off, performs a triple somersault and enters the water like a knife through butter. “Wow,” she exclaims, “that was some dive.” “Yes,” he answers, “I was an Olympic diver and have three gold medals. I taught Tom Daly all he knows. I told you we’d get to know each other as we get along.”

With that she gets up, dives into the pool and does 50 lengths, returns to the sun lounger, and is not even breathing heavily. “Wow,” he says “were you an Olympic endurance swimmer ?” “No,” she replies, “I was a prostitute in Liverpool and worked both sides of the Mersey !!”

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