A late winner from “El Pirata” Vedat Muriqi in the 85th minute saw Real Mallorca snatch an unlikely first three points of the season in a game that had everything – except good football.
In the words of the late, great Jimmy Greaves “Football, it’s a funny old game.” With 85 minutes on the clock, no-one gave Real Mallorca a hope in hell of getting a result out of this game. Celta Vigo came at the Mallorca defence in waves with only some wonder saves from Rajkovic, the righthand post and an agile goal-line clearance from Pablo Maffeo keeping Mallorca in the game. With time running out, coach Aguirre took the brave decision to play two up front and the risk paid off. Dani Rodriguez flicked on a Samu Costa pass into the path of Muriqi and he toe-poked in the winner.
In the first half, as far as Mallorca were concerned, it was another case of just what do the team do all week on the training ground, as passes went astray and Muriqi cut a lone figure upfront. In the 23rd minute the big Kosovan headed what looked like a goal-bound header from a corner but Aspas standing beside the near post cleared off the line. It’s not very often these days you see a defender guarding a goalpost at a set piece, but the ploy certainly worked for the home side.
The second half was laden with mistakes, but our defence were pretty watertight. Indeed, both Maffeo and Samu Costa finished the game with their heads heavily bandaged. Maffeo especially was back to his best and his runs down the line towards the end caused Celta problems.
The game’s talking point came in the 69th minute. A bad mistake from Martin Valjent allowed Aspas to cross for the Ivorian player Bamba and his downward header hit the crossbar and fell down, looking to cross the goal line. However, after a VAR check from various angles, a minute part of the sphere hadn’t crossed the line and the goal was disallowed, much to the annoyance of the home supporters.
Goal-line technology (Hawkeye) is used in all the major leagues in Europe, but not in Spain. The reason is that La Liga remains unconvinced as La Liga president Javier Tebas is opposed to the idea of its introduction, primarily because of financial constraints as it costs 3 million euros to get the system up and running.
SUMMING UP : Again Sergi Darder ran about like a headless chicken but he was not alone. We had too many players chasing shadows. In truth, our win was probably undeserved but we’ll take all three points as we make the short trip over to high-flying Girona next Saturday at 2pm.