Nil-nil between Atletico Baleares and Real Mallorca. | Miquel Àngel Borràs

Real Mallorca played out a soporific goalless draw away at arch rivals Atletico Baleares on Saturday night. The mini-submarine Villareal B lead Group III after three games with nine points, Elche and Mallorca are on seven and Valencia Mestalla, who surprisingly lost 1-0 to Deportiva Ibiza, on six. We are the only team in Group III to have a clean sheet and only one of four out of the 80 teams in the whole Segunda B countrywide to do so. In attack Mallorca need to score more goals but it’s early doors. All the pre-match hype built up all last week was about this being the first league derby for 37 years, but I’m afraid the hysteria off the pitch didn’t match the play on it.

The game was five minutes late in starting when it was discovered that one of the goal nets hadn’t been put up properly. After a bit of plastic tape was produced, a very shaky Madrid referee, Lopez Puerta, blew his whistle to start this historic match. The sound of Señor Puerta’s whistle took centre stage as he blew for practically every bit of bodily contact in a game played on a bumpy, small-dimensional, synthetic playing surface, which impeded any attempt to play open, flowing football. There were also some crunching tackles coming in, especially from the home outfit.

Mallorca, used to competing on one of the biggest natural grass playing surfaces in Spanish football at the Son Moix, found it particularly difficult to get any rhythm going in the first half. As usual Lago Junior was here, there and everywhere but he was having a particularly torrid time against the "Balearico" defenders who hacked the Ivorian down time and time again. Lago with his pace ran out of pitch on several occasions and got little sympathy from the referee. Neither team looked like breaking the deadlock in the first half with both goalkeepers virtual spectators.

After the break, the tempo picked up - just! By now the referee had found his notepad and pencil as he began to be the most important presence on the pitch.

On the 50th minute mark, there was a bizarre sending off for Atletico’s striker Gerard Oliva. He had a little lunge at our goalkeeper, Manolo Reina. There’s no doubt a foul was committed, but he was way over the top with his histrionics, giving an Oscar-winning performance of a dying swan. The referee produced a yellow card for Oliva and then, when he protested his innocence too much, was shown another yellow followed by the dreaded red. It was without a shadow of a doubt a harsh decision and the sending-off would surely give Mallorca the upper hand. Like so many times in football, the man advantage didn’t really make any difference, with the Son Moix side proving once again that they can’t make that extra man count.

In the 76th minute came the only clear-cut chance of the game. Somehow striker Cedric Omoigui found himself in space with only keeper Aulestia to beat. He snatched at his shot and it trundled past the post - game over, 0-0. We have now got seven points out of nine and must consider Saturday night’s result as a good away point on a difficult playing surface and in a very hostile atmosphere.


Any potential crowd trouble was nipped in the bud by a large police presence as the two sets of fans exchanged pre-match pleasantries – not! The sending-off was a travesty for Atletico and I suppose they won the moral victory holding on for most of the second half with ten men. They also had their coach and physio sent off.

The referee spoilt the game with his inconsistency and was harassed and surrounded by aggrieved players many times. I just wish in modern football players would stop surrounding the referee after a decision doesn’t go the player’s way. If they spent less time arguing with officials and getting on with the job they’re paid to do, the better for all concerned.