Abdon celebrates the winner for Mallorca. | Cati Cladera


Real Mallorca moved into a highly creditable 10th place in La Liga Santander with a 93rd minute headed goal by local hero Abdon Prats on Saturday night.

Most Mallorquinistas know Abdon isn’t a La Liga striker and his best displays have been from the bench. The striker, born in Arta, is known for his moustache and for being the scorer of impossible goals. RCD Mallorca is Abdon’s club and he wears everything about them on his sleeve. Many remember him for the goal he scored against Deportivo in the play offs three years ago. However, the one he scored against Rayo Vallecano in the last home game of last season was the goal that made him my player of 2022.

In the 92nd minute of that game, on the penultimate day of the league, the score was 1-1. That result would have left us on 34 points and meant reaching the last game in a relegation position. Everything looked like a footballing drama as the clock ticked down. Suddenly, with the game almost over, Abdon appeared out of nowhere to cross a miraculous ball that eluded the Rayo keeper and nestled in the net. That strike changed the future of Real Mallorca and without that goal we would have been in the second division today.

Last Wednesday night in the cup tie against Pontevedra, in the 65th minute Mallorca were having a real problem penetrating the home defence. Abdon came on in the 66th minute and after a one-two with Muriqi, he scored then laid on the second for Muriqi.

On Saturday night, after a bright start, Mallorca and Valladolid were involved in a footballing traffic jam and apart from a few forays forward neither side looked capable of breaking the deadlock.

Dani Rodriguez was having a nightmare in midfield, losing the ball far too often and it was no surprise when he was substituted by Kang In Lee just after the hour mark. Just why coach Aguirre took so long to make that obvious change, only he knows. 21-year-old Kang In Lee is close to being a world class player and his introduction on Saturday night completely changed the game.

Valladolid meanwhile were piling on the pressure and Kiki Perez rattled the bar with Rajkovic beaten. Kang In Lee kept pushing and probing and his set-pieces were brilliant.

In the 83rd minute a frustrated Muriqi was taken off (he spent more time looking for the ball than actually receiving one clear-cut chance).

Mallorca went all out for the winner but they didn’t have the Duracell bunny leading the attack as their batteries began to run out.

Then, with lots of fans leaving the ground to avoid traffic problems, Mallorca won a free kick down the right near the Valladolid corner flag. Kang In Lee, who minutes earlier saw a great shot parried away by Masip, took the resultant last (as it turned out) kick of the game. Somehow the ball went through a crowded 12 yard box reaching Abdon’s head and he nodded in the winner. Cue bedlam from the 14,129 crowd. A great goal from a true Mallorquinista who over the past three seasons has become a folklore legend of RCD Mallorca.

Valladolid will feel hard done by and deserved at least a draw. Mallorca made lots of mistakes and looked all over the place for long periods. It’s nice to play badly and still win !

PS Mallorca have a very difficult tie in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey when they were drawn against high-flying Real Sociedad. The tie will be played between January 17/18/19.