In the top flight! | EFE

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Real Mallorca once again (in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson) “never seem to do it the easy way” as they chose the opportune moment to clinch their first away La Liga Santander win of 2022. Second-half goals from Angel Rodriguez and the “unknown” French player Clement Grenier proved enough against a nothing-to-play-for Osasuna, beating the Pamplona side 0-2 to secure their all-important top-flight status for another season.

I’ve seen Mallorca win promotion and suffer the humiliation of relegation several times in the 40 years I’ve followed them, and Sunday night’s win was up there as one of the most nerve-shredding games involving the Palma side I’ve witnessed. Celebrations continued into the night in the Plaza de Las Tortugas in the middle of Palma, as is customary on these occasions.

As half time arrived, Mallorca were on the ropes with their four man defence repelling all boarders. The second half, however, was a different story and surprisingly we took a shock lead in the 46th minute. Pablo Maffeo (who had another outstanding game) found Muriqi, the Kosovan intelligently passed to Angel Rodriguez, who brushed off a challenge to fire home past Herrera who was on top form, brilliantly pushing over a net-bound Salva Sevilla free kick earlier. It was a great goal scored at just the right time, although there was a long way to go.

Our ex-player Ante Budimir, who was booed by everybody in the Mallorcafé and the several hundred outside, came close to equalising twice but Lady Luck was on our side.

Suffering seems to be part of RCD Mallorca’s DNA and so it was again as we sat back and encouraged Osasuna to come and have a go if they thought they were hard enough.

Manolo Reina, in his last game for Real Mallorca after five years of being one of the fans’ favourites, made a couple of top-class interventions to keep us in the game as coach Aguirre decided to ring the changes. Dani Rodriguez and “Mr Mallorca” Abdon Prats came on for Salva Sevilla (in tears after the game as it looks like his time at Mallorca has sadly come to an end after a superb four years stint at the club) and Angel respectively and the game took on new meaning as Osasuna were forced onto the back foot.

In the 83rd minute Mallorca doubled their lead and Abdon Prats just had to be involved. Dani Rodriguez crossed from the left and Abdon’s header was parried out by Herrera into the path of Grenier who swept in our second. The 31-year-old Frenchman arrived in March as an out of contract signing from Rennes and he also played for the national side. He came to us totally bereft of match fitness and was nowhere near La Liga standard. He’s been a bench warmer for most of the time he’s been here but on Sunday night his name entered the RCD Mallorca history books.

Us Mallorquinistas will always remember this night. 1,200 fans made the trip to Pamplona and all of them plus us at home suffered all kinds of emotions until Grenier made it 0-2. It was one of those games that brings back memories of the promotion play-off against Deportivo three years ago and the distant triumphs of our glory days under Hector Cuper, Luis Aragones and Gregorio Manzano. Our place in next season’s La Liga is worth its weight in gold, it will mean a well-deserved leap in our externally-imposed salary limit for next season, although it is said in Spanish footballing circles that you really go to the next level when you reach three consecutive seasons in the top flight. We can now buy players who we couldn’t afford in the season just gone.

I’ll be writing about what’s on the horizon next weekend. Visca Mallorca !