Mallorca could have lost by more than one. | RCD Mallorca


In my column on Friday, I said that Real Mallorca must beware of complacency against an Elche side who hadn’t won away all season, hadn’t kept a clean sheet and were six regular players down through suspension and injury.

Over the years, we’ve faced teams who’ve looked down and out at the bottom of La Liga 34 times and won just five. There’s no doubt on Saturday Elche deserved their ecstatic celebrations after their 0-1 win against a poor Mallorca side. We have to thank Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic for a string of top saves which kept the score down to just one.

Saturday’s game saw the club’s 107th birthday and there was free cake being handed out all around the Son Moix. However, as far as the home team were concerned, this game was far from being a piece of cake. Mallorca looked second best for long periods and Elche striker Lucas Boye caused our jittery defence all sorts of grief. 22 points separated these sides at kick off and Mallorca came close early doors when a scuffed shot from a strangely subdued Dani Rodriguez was cleared off the line.

For long periods Mallorca played tippy tappy football, mostly sideways and backwards, with Kang In Lee looking the only player to be causing Elche problems. Once again Zimbabwean Tino Kadewere started but although he showed willing, he looked too lightweight, being easily bundled off the ball.

The second half saw Mallorca playing more of the same and every ball into the penalty area was either too hard to be controlled or too high to do any damage. As the half progressed, Mallorca’s dominance wilted and the visitors began to look dangerous. Both goalkeepers performed heroics to keep the score level. Vedat Muriqi had another frustrating game, receiving precious little service and he got himself booked near the end which means he’ll miss next Sunday’s home game against Real Sociedad. Muriqi is a proven goal scorer but without ammunition he doesn’t have anywhere near the same effect that makes him one of the top predatory strikers in Spanish football, especially in the air.

In the 88th minute the 14,065 crowd were silenced. A corner kick down the left saw Boye rattle in a brilliant strike. Now it was all hands to the pump as Mallorca, including goalkeeper Rajkovic, poured forward. After great work by Maffeo, Muriqi forced the ball over the line in the 98th minute. Cue bedlam in the Son Moix. But wait, the referee had the dreaded finger in the ear, VAR were reviewing the goal. Referee Munuera Montero was called over to the pitch-side video monitor and we all know how 99.9% of these decisions turn out. After several agonising minutes the referee ruled out the goal, with Maffeo having allegedly slapped an Elche defender in the build-up. High drama indeed !

This was Mallorca’s first home defeat since last October. Once again we came unstuck against a team we should have beaten with ease, and who are nailed-on relegation certainties. We were rubbish on Saturday night and all us Mallorquinistas were gutted as we drowned our sorrows in the bar after the game. Too many of our players didn’t turn up and one example of our complacency was when we won a corner in the first half. Instead of running to the corner flag to take the kick, Kang In Lee strolled nonchalantly over.

Just to rub salt into our gaping wounds, assistant coach Toni Amor was sent off at the end and that could well mean a four-match touchline suspension. Saturday night saw a painful defeat which was made even worse by the equalising goal being disallowed in the 100th minute.