After a weekend when Boris and Carrie announced that they will marry in July next year – now that a Tory donor has been found! – Real Mallorca, in their last home game of the season, rounded off an unforgettable week with a victory against Zaragoza in a rain-lashed Son Moix on Sunday night.
Two second-half strikes, from Dani Rodriguez and Lago Junior, saw Mallorca just one point behind league leaders Espanyol with one game left to play.
All next weekend’s fixtures in La Liga Smartbank are scheduled to start at 21.00 on Sunday, although this is subject to change.
Espanyol will play a tricky away game at Alcorcon while Mallorca face an away trip to Leon to face Ponferradina who are eighth. As if the end to this season hasn’t been exciting enough, we now face a chance to win La Segunda title. If Espanyol don’t do the business in Madrid against Alcorcon (where they have to take all three points), we could be league champions if we beat Ponferradina.
Our game on Sunday was billed as a football fiesta but the first half was as dull as the weather – it was more siesta than fiesta! Zaragoza took a fortuitous 22nd minute lead when VAR showed a Mallorca hand ball in the area and Zanimachia rattled in the spot kick.
With nothing at stake beyond pride, we’d hoped for an entertaining game but the first 45 minutes weren’t good with Mallorca making loads of mistakes, looking listless.
The 4,086 socially-distanced spectators, including yours truly, braved the cold and rain and waited until the 67th minute before we equalised. Man of the match Dani Rodriguez, who was prominent throughout, was the scorer running past two static Zaragoza defenders to pick his spot past an outstretched hand from visiting ‘keeper Raton, the ball going in off the post.
Mallorca had at last wakened up and several substitutions were made on the hour mark, one of them being Lago Junior and he scored with one of his trademark unstoppable goals in the 88th minute. Cutting in from the right, his bendy shot curled into the top corner. It was reminiscent of the goal he scored in our winning opening La Liga game in the Son Moix against Real Madrid two years ago. On Sunday night it was a memorable winning goal to put the icing on the cake in what has been a memorable season.
As the rain continued to fall it was cabaret time as the promotion party began with a very impressive 40 piece drum band doing their stuff. This was followed by every player being presented and the coach and backroom staff were also given a rousing reception from the brave souls who stayed and defied the elements.
Near enough a year ago, Mallorca fans were forced to leave the Son Moix stands due to the Covid pandemic and we left Real Mallorca playing an away La Liga game at Eibar, where we won 2-1. Reality now shows that we last watched our team play under normal circumstances in La Liga Santander. Now, hopefully, come August, we’ll all be back to find our team where they left off – in La Liga. The big dates and games are about to come thick and fast and we should know the new fixture list in July. It’s a case of deja vu, welcome back to where we were in top flight Spanish football.
The main talking point again is whether Mallorca will bring back Ante Budimir for next season. The 30-year-old Croatian striker has been on loan at Osasuna, where he scored 11 goals. He reiterated his desire to stay in Pamplona because, in his own words, “I’m happy here.” In his case, whatever happens could go a long way to show what the intentions of the club are for next season. Sentiments aside, Mallorca are going to need a proven La Liga goal scorer and Budimir is just that.
He is a Mallorca player and if we sell him back to them for the asking price of 8 million euros, fair enough. However, letting him go COULD mean a repetition of the mistakes made two seasons ago that cost Mallorca to be relegated. A lot will depend on how Budimir performs in the upcoming Euros for Croatia.
PS The weekend’s most useless football fact : All the major leagues in Europe (bar France) have been won by teams who reside in a city that begins with “M” (Milan, Munich, Manchester and Madrid).
Two men were sitting in a bar recounting their dreams. One man recalled fondly, “I dreamt I was on holiday and it was just me and my fishing rod and this big, beautiful lake. What a dream!” The other man said, “I had a great dream too. I dreamed I was in bed with two beautiful women and having the time of my life.” His companion put down his pint, looked over and exhorted “You dreamt you had two women and you didn’t call me?” “Oh, I did,” replied the other “But when I called, your wife told me you’d gone fishing!