Summary of the match. | Última hora

Real Mallorca, showing uncharacteristic defensive frailties, came from behind three times before succumbing to a 97th minute last-kick-of-the-game penalty to lose 4-3 on Sunday night away at Celta Vigo.

Mallorca showed intent from the start but they went a goal down in the 13th minute with the first of three SOFT GOALS which our normally reliable defence gifted to the home side. Celta Vigo’s Cerui hit a shot from the edge of the box and the ball crashed onto the crossbar.

The Brazilian Galhardo, who hadn’t scored in eight months, beat Mallorca’s goalkeeper Sergio Rico to the rebound, 1-0. Four minutes later Winter signing Gio Gonzalez scored a fluky equaliser, the Celta goalkeeper not expecting the Uruguayan’s effort (nor was he) to creep into the net, 1-1.

Except for isolated passages of play, Celta were all over Mallorca like a rash and they doubled their lead in the 25th minute; it was a replica of the opener. This time there was controversy involved. Rico scrambled the ball clear and Aspas put Denis Suarez through to make it 2-1. Referee Arias Lopez ruled the goal out for offside but VAR corrected him and the goal stood, 2-1. By now we were flat in attack with Muriqi isolated on his own up front and we were running around like headless chickens. However, we managed to get a foothold back in the game when after a corner kick Raillo’s header bounced off Celta defender Aidoo’s chest for an own goal, 2-2.

Twice Celta came mighty close but they finally made the breakthrough on the hour mark with our defence once again standing still, Aspas easily scoring to make it 3-2. With five minutes of normal time remaining, Muriqi tried a shot, the ball grazing Celta’s Hugo Mallo’s hand.

VAR alerted the referee who consulted the video monitor and then indicated a penalty, showing Mallo a red card. Mallorca looked to be getting out of jail again. Salva Sevilla took responsibility and didn’t fail, 3-3. Just when we all thought we’d got a hard-earned point, it all went t*ts up!

In the 97th minute Celta poured forward and Martin Valjent’s innocent hand ball in the area gifted the home team a clear cut penalty decision. Aspas’s spot kick was nearly saved by Rico, who guessed correctly, but the ball went under his belly and into the net. Heartbreak for the Palma side, 4-3.

SUMMING UP: In Mallorca’s favour, not many teams in La Liga play away, score three goals and lose. This was a surreal game in which everything happened. Our normally reliable central defensive partnership of Martin Valjent and Antonio Raillo gave their worst performance I can remember, as did the rest of our back line with the exception of Baba. He made his first start after overcoming an injury that occurred during the African Cup of Nations back in January. He was head and shoulders and legs our best player and was a key protagonist in an otherwise poor Mallorca side.

On social media after the game there were lots of Mallorquinistas clamouring for the dismissal of coach Luis Garcia Plaza who was serving the second of a two-match suspension in the Balaidos stand. Many were saying LGP has taken this team as far as he can and it’s time to bring in a replacement to save our season and our time back in La Liga. One name being mentioned in despatches is the ex Granada coach Diego Martinez, who took the Andalucian side into last season’s Europa League final 16.

We’re now dangerously close to the relegation places on 27 points, just two points ahead of third bottom Cadiz. We’ve only won two games on the road this season and our home form has been poor of late. As you can imagine, we’re not in a good place and we’ve conceded 45 goals. Only bottom side Levante have let more in with 51. All of this doesn’t auger well with Real Madrid here next Monday night at 9 o’clock.

One player not included in our squad then will be No. 2 ’keeper Manolo Reina, who was shown a straight red card for protestations from the bench. There’s something not right at RCD Mallorca when, after we’ve played 75% of our 2021/22 fixtures, our leading goalscorer is a 38-year-old midfielder in the twilight zone of his career, Salva Sevilla. B
efore Muriqi arrived in January, our strikers were hardly bursting the net : Abdon (1), Fer Niño (2) and Hoppe (0).

Another point that was mentioned on social media yesterday was the fact that there’s nobody from the hierarchy of RCD Mallorca who can go in to the dressing room and talk to the players and coaching staff in this, our time of need.

Club president Andy Kohlberg is in Miami, the owner Robert Sarver is in Arizona and board member/advisor Graeme Le Saux is rarely seen at Son Moix. It’s as if the club is self-managed with nobody in charge to give a rallying call to the players and staff in order to steady the ship that’s heading for the rocks. At most football clubs when a crisis arrives, a word from the chairman or board member can sometimes steady that ship!

AND FINALLY, one day while out jogging, a middle-aged man noticed two spanking new tennis balls lying by the side of the road. He picked the balls up, put them in his pocket and carried on his run. Waiting at the next junction for the lights to change, he noticed a beautiful blonde next to him smiling. “What are those bulges in your running shorts?” she asked. “Tennis balls!” the man replied smiling back. “Wow,” said the blonde looking upset, “that must hurt. I once had tennis elbow and the pain was unbearable!”