Real Mallorca pull off vital victory. | Última hora

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RCD Mallorca lifted themselves out of La Liga’s relegation zone on Tuesday evening with a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Alaves, who had 60% possession and will have felt hard done by when the final whistle blew in the 100th minute. Two wins from our last three outings have given the Palma side a realistic chance of avoiding immediate relegation for the second time in three seasons.

But boy, did us Mallorquinistas suffer after Alaves had the ball in the net in the 5th minute, but after another lengthy VAR investigation the goal was disallowed for hand ball. I think if that goal had been allowed so early in the game, Mallorca would have struggled to get a result.

If any match deserved the tag of being a relegation six-pointer, this was it. After the Alaves team’s short-lived celebrations, Mallorca rubbed salt into their wounds. A Salva Sevilla free kick on the edge of the area eventually dropped to Pablo Maffeo on the opposite edge of the area, he pulled the ball back for “fan’s hero” Abdon Prats to score an unorthodox opener, 1-0. The game swung end to end and just before half time Mallorca doubled their lead. Vedat Muriqi broke into the area, drifted past Lejeune in exquisite fashion to rifle the ball into the far corner of the net from a tight angle, 2-0.

Half time arrived with the hot dog stands doing brisk trade. The second half was more of the same until the 73rd minute when the game was turned on its head. Alaves were laying siege to our penalty area and in all honesty were the better side. Another wave of pressure took place and a Joselu cross was spectacularly headed into his own goal by Mallorca captain Antonio Raillo and it was game on, 2-1.

Mallorca spent most of the second half encamped in their penalty area heading the ball clear of their 18 yard box but they managed to hold on, despite the referee adding on eight minutes, then another two, to give them a three-point cushion above the drop zone. Final score 2-1.

SUMMING UP : This game wasn’t for the faint hearted but it was excitement personified for the 15,264 fans. Mallorca’s defensive work was enough to sustain the game although unsurprisingly the players looked well knackered when the referee eventually blew for time in the 100th minute. Coach Aguirre decided to see the last 20 minutes out by pushing the team back, giving the entire pitch to Alaves who very nearly got something positive out of this game. Mallorca didn’t have a single corner kick all night and each blocked shot and mistake was purgatory for local fans to watch.

Miriqi, thinking about our next home game against fellow strugglers Granada in three weeks time, effectively forced the referee to show him his fifth yellow card, which means he’ll miss our next away game against a struggling Barcelona on Sunday, May 1. Muriqi was magnificent in both defence and attack on Tuesday night and has become a huge favourite of fans. It’s a long time since we’ve had such a bustling striker and he alongside Maffeo are two players who we must sign on more permanent deals during the Summer. Mallorca are still very much alive and the Son Moix burst with joy as the almost-full stadium exited singing “Si se puede” – yes we can.

Abdon Prats said after the game “I told the coach to trust me and that if he did, he wouldn’t regret it. Each game is a final where we suffer, but hopefully soon we will have peace of mind and relax.” The Arta footballer said that Tuesday night’s game was like that epic encounter on June 23, 2019, the night we last gained promotion to the first division. Six of the players who played on Tueday night were part of that memorable occasion.

Because of the Spanish cup final in Sevilla between Betis and Valencia on Saturday night, there are no La Liga fixtures this coming weekend. Time for Real Mallorca to take stock of a gutsy if fortunate win, as we face another five “finals.”