Fer Niño (L) scores Mallorca’s winner. | Carlos Gil-Roig - Photographer


After a weekend when for those that don’t want Alexa listening in on their conversations, they’ve made a male version – it doesn’t listen to anything!! – Real Mallorca and their fans have a new “hero” (albeit only on loan for a season from Villareal), 20-year-old Palma-born Fer Niño who came off the bench in the 64th minute and scored the game’s only goal 15 minutes later, as the islanders beat Alaves 0-1.

On January 25, 2020, Niño came off the bench to make his first team debut for the “Yellow Submarine” in La Liga at Alaves’s Mendizorroza stadium, with only two minutes left to play.

He scored the winner with practically the last kick of the game.

Signing on the dotted line last Wednesday, at his presentation, Niño promised a flurry of goals and just three days later he fulfilled his pledge by getting off the mark.

With time running out, our coach Luis Garcia Plaza started to make changes, bringing on veteran midfielder Salva Sevilla for a tiring Baba (who had another great game in the engine room). Salva lobbed through a masterful pass noticing the position of Fer Niño who escaped from the offside trap, flicked the ball over an oncoming and hesitant goalkeeper Pacheco to spectacularly score the winning goal.

Fer had chosen the perfect moment to move forward to connect with Salva’s pass avoiding straying offside.

Niño had dropped down to fourth striker at Villareal after showing that he had a promising future at the “Yellow Submarine” and on Saturday night he showed how important in the scheme of things he’s going to be here this season.

I have to give a big shout out to Abdon Prats who started upfront.
He’s still to score a La Liga goal but came oh so close to breaking that duck on Saturday.
At the start of the second half, Baba put over a great cross which saw Abdon spectacularly head the ball goal-ward. Incredibly his bullet header cannoned off the bar and the post before being scrambled clear.

After a slow start, Abdon looked the business in his extraordinary match of attrition.
With news coming out that new striker signing Angel Rodriguez has aggravated an old injury and will be out for up to eight weeks, Abdon will surely enjoy more playing time. After his display on Saturday he fully deserves it.

The first half saw a string of defensive errors from both sides.

Alaves and Mallorca gave the ball away on countless occasions in forbidden areas but fortunately without decisive players in either team taking advantage.
If they repeat these mistakes against a more powerful rival with more substance, they’re in trouble.

Manolo Reina in goal had a nightmare against Betis last weekend but he responded with a couple of great saves on Saturday.

At some time this season new signing Dominik Greif will end up playing because that’s why Mallorca brought him in from Slovan Bratislava.

SUMMING UP: Saturday’s win at Alaves was much more important than beating any of the big four in Spanish football. We were superior from start to finish against a team who along with Cadiz, Elche and Rayo could well be predestined (like Real Mallorca) to fight against going back down again.

The introduction of Salva Sevilla and Fer Niño changed the game completely for Real Mallorca.

I can’t remember the last time we had an impact substitute who had so much input in such a short space of time.

Despite Niño’s spectacular entrance it’s still likely that a “killer” No. 9 will come in some time this week, providing we can offload out-of-favour North Macedonian international Aleksandar Trajkovski.

We should also find out if Daniel Sturridge will pull on a Mallorca shirt this season.
The game changed further in our favour when Alaves had Ruben Duarte sent off in the 66th minute, Niño was again involved after a bad tackle. The home side were guilty of a few “agricultural challenges” and rookie ref Muñiz Ruiz had an eventful baptism. Next up is a real “humdinger” when Espanyol are the visitors on FRIDAY at 8 pm. Fans with season tickets ending in odd numbers will have admission priority. I got my “entrada” yesterday.

AND FINALLY, a young soldier is having a quiet pie and a pint in a Hereford pub when the local 6ft 6ins, 18-stone hard man walks up to him and knocks the soldier’s pint over.
The soldier gets hold of the Neanderthal, lifts him above his head and smashes him down on the floor.

He gets his half-eaten pie and rubs it into the ear of the unconscious “hard man.”
The barman is gobsmacked and says to the young soldier “You must be in the SAS, that was totally unbelievable.”
“Nah,” replied the soldier, “the pie-in-ear corps!!”