Mallorca players having a problem with the ref. | Carlos Gil-Roig


Rayo Vallecano claimed a point in the most dramatic of finishes against a Real Mallorca side who at last looked like they’re back on track to have another exceptional season. The Vallecas stadium witnessed the craziest nine minutes of the La Liga season so far. In the time that elapsed between the 93rd and 102nd minute, this period was not for fans of a nervous disposition. Football, at least in Spain, no longer lasts 90 minutes and the added-on time is producing goals and lots of controversy.

It seemed the Palma side were set to get their first win of the season in a very complicated three-sided ground where no team is given many opportunities to pick up all three points. Coach Aguirre broke with his tradition and started with the tried and tested 4-4-2 system, with Muriqi and Abdon up front after their Herculean performances against Barcelona last Tuesday night.

Rayo took the lead with just three minutes on the clock. Sergi Darder’s pass went astray and Rayo’s Camello turned our central defender Nastasic every which way but loose, sending Alvaro through to score through Rajkovic’s legs, 1-0.

In the 44th minute, Dani Rodriguez took a free kick outside the home penalty area. Abdon was involved in the goal-mouth melee and Muriqi finished it off. The referee ruled it was offside but VAR disagreed and it was 1-1.

In the second half we saw at last the Sergi Darder we had been waiting to see and his eye of a needle through ball allowed Antonio Sanchez to score in the 59th minute. His over-exuberant celebrations resulted in him pulling a shoulder muscle and he had to be substituted. As the clock ticked down it was all hands to the pump as Mallorca defended in numbers. In the 96th minute Gio Gonzalez was the guilty party as the ball appeared to strike his upper arm. There was a clear push from Rayo’s Raul de Tomas just before the penalty award which VAR overlooked. Veteran journeyman striker Falcao missed the first penalty, which the referee gave but VAR said Rajkovic hadn’t stayed on his goal-line and the kick was retaken, this time the Colombian made no mistake in the 101st minute.

This was much better from Mallorca in a game played in blistering Madrid heat. We gained a bittersweet point in a match that was full of niggle in the last 20 minutes.

Next Saturday at 18:30 Valencia come to town and if Mallorca play anywhere close to the form they’ve shown in the last two games, we could well see our first win of the season.