Mallorca players celebrate Lopez's equaliser.

0

Real Mallorca's nine straight win run came to an end on Saturday evening when they were held to a 1-1 draw in the Municipal de Sant Francesc ground in front of 1,550 spectators, 500 of them from Mallorca in what was, after half time, a feisty, toe-to-toe local derby. The weekend's results show unbeaten Mallorca are still seven points clear at the top after Villarreal B could only draw at home with Valencia Mestalla 2-2.

Honours even just about sums up the game played on a table-sized artificial pitch which certainly wasn't conducive to Real Mallorca's free-flowing play. The first half verged on purgatory, the only half chance falling to Mallorca striker Abdon Prats after ten minutes; he side-footed past the post from inside the six-yard box. Both teams tried to take control in midfield but the Mallorca pairing of Sabater and Pedraza struggled to get a hold on the game. Indeed, goal incidents were so few and far between that the first time our goalkeeper Manolo Reina touched the ball was to retrieve it in the 24th minute after a Formentera player's attempted header went high and well wide. If this game had been played in a colder climate, Reina would have had hypothermia. There wasn't even one man and his dog behind the goal to talk to.

Five minutes later the keeper was called into action again when he was forced to hack clear a pass-back. Not much else happened until half time but things were about to change after the break.

One minute into the second period and the home team went ahead. The normally reliable Raillo and substitute defender Fran Grima had a misunderstanding, allowing pacy winger Adrian Riera to open the scoring. That strike was only the third goal we've conceded all season. Then Mallorca showed how resilient they've become by equalising five minutes later with another superb goal. This time Lago Junior, who really doesn't look like he enjoys playing on these small, tight pitches, put over a great ball that was brilliantly headed in by Alex Lopez to give him his fourth goal of the season.

After the lukewarm start, this game turned into a cracking derby. Several more chances went begging for both sides as Mallorca began to dominate the midfield. That change happened when Pedraza was substituted in the 55th minute by the “Silver Fox” Salva Sevilla and his experience went a long way to almost helping Mallorca win all three points. The visitors pushed forward as the game looked set for a share of the spoils when another bullet header from Lopez missed the goal by centimetres.

Getting to Formentera wasn't all plain sailing but to go there and get a point in their tiny ground was equally as difficult. Hats off to the Balearic minnows, what a week they had. Drawing 1-1 at home to At. Bilbao in the Copa del Rey first leg, then denting league leaders Mallorca's winning sequence. Considering the home coach, Tito Garcia Sanjuan, only had 15 fit players to choose from, his modest side, at home, look pretty formidable. Any ideas that Formentera would be suffering from tiredness after their Cup heroics were quickly dispelled as they more than held their own against a team who were “on fire”.

Formentera's coach commented after the game that our equaliser looked to be marginally offside but went on to say that “Mallorca so far are the best team in the group and could well have the league sewn up four or five games before the end of the season”.