After a weekend when a headline caught my attention : “Local man recalls when Leo Sayer said he looked like Sam Malone from the TV series Cheers – he told reporters ‘He made me feel like DANSON !’” – Real Mallorca’s Valentine’s Day didn’t go according to plan as they failed to get the object of their desire – a win against Espanyol ! The islanders lost the chance to put some distance between themselves and the chasing duo of Espanyol and Almeria when they went down 1-2 on Sunday afternoon to Espanyol. We’ve now lost four games this season – all of them in the Son Moix.
This was a match which Mallorca could, and should, have won if they had taken the two best chances that came their way. Espanyol, on the other hand, took their two gift-wrapped opportunities to cut the deficit at the top of La Liga SmartBank between Espanyol/Almeria and us to just two points.
It was a lacklustre performance from Mallorca with several of their players looking jaded. In the 15th minute Amath, who came into the game with three goals in a row, failed to take advantage of a one-on-one with Espanyol’s 39-year-old veteran ‘keeper Diego Lopez. Seven minutes later it was another “head in hands emoji” moment when Amath missed his second, a comparatively straightforward attempt. These two chances came back to bite us on the “culo” later on, but all credit to the Espanyol goalkeeper for two great saves.
The visitors looked dangerous in attack and in one of these down the right, they took the lead in the 32nd minute. Puado headed in a free kick from Embarba, which should have been cleared by a static Fran Gamez, 0-1, and that’s the way it stayed at half time. Into the second “mitad” and we persisted in putting high balls into the Espanyol box which the vertically challenged Amath and Abdon never reached. Abdon hardly touched the ball all game and with Dani Rodriguez also on the periphery for most of the 95 minutes played, Mallorca found it heavy going.
We finally drew level in the 51st minute. Sanchez hit the ball into the path of Amath and he half-volleyed in, 1-1, to score his fourth goal in four games (seven in total). The game became stretched, going one way then the other. Mallorca dominated one minute, Espanyol the next. The outcome looked doomed to be a draw – or so we thought. With 72 minutes on the clock, Espanyol broke down the right flank, the ball was whipped over by Raul de Tomas and the normally reliable centre back Martin Valjent looked to be about to clear his lines. He inexplicably fell over, allowing the ball to reach Espanyol’s Congolese-born Belgian international Landry Dimata, and his left-foot tap-in gave Reina no chance, 1-2.
Our coach Luis Garcia Plaza then made a raft of changes, which included our Brazilian Murilo (what’s he all about ?), none of which worked as we looked “leggy” and bereft of ideas.
Considering how the game was, a draw would have been a good result and surely fairer. As the referee blew his whistle for full time the Espanyol players celebrated like they’d already won the league. Four home defeats is not good but fortunately there’s still plenty of time left to find a solution.
Coming up fast on the rails are Almeria who finished the weekend joint second with Espanyol on 49 points, two behind us. They have a game in hand which they’ll play tomorrow night at 19:00 hours when they visit a resurgent Leganes. If Almeria pick up all three points, they’ll go top, and they come to Palma next Sunday at 4 pm. It’s going to be tighter than a sumo wrestler’s jock strap as three teams battle it out for two automatic promotion places.
Looking on social media after the game, Mallorca fans were gutted with the result. They expected at least a draw. Coach LGP said “We were better than them but they took their chances – that’s football. We were beaten by a very good team and we have to keep going.”
AND FINALLY, Jim and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.
Edna promptly jumped in to save him. When the hospital director became aware of Edna’s heroics, he immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital as she now was considered to be mentally stable.
When the director went to tell Edna the news, he said “Edna, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love – I have concluded that your act displays sound-mindedness. The bad news is Jim hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, he’s gone to meet his maker, he’s passed away.” “He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry. When can I go home ?”