Ten-man Real Mallorca held on to beat a spirited Atletico Saguntino 2-1 in a game played in horrendous conditions - driving rain and a howling gale. The home team's plastic pitch had huge puddles of water on it as the rain was relentless. For some reason the ground staff didn't sweep away the water, which on a plastic pitch would have been an easy option. As it turned out, the side of the pitch opposite the small stand was like a lake in places meaning that both teams found it difficult to get any rhythm going.
Mallorca looked the better side early doors and took a deserved lead albeit shortlived, just after half time. Fifteen seconds after the re-start Abdon Prats latched on to a pass, shrugged off a tackle and his shot took a deflection before beating Lluna in the home goal. For around ten minutes the incessant rain eased off but that didn't stop the home side from drawing level. Four minutes later, for the second week running, we failed to deal with a corner. This time Quesada (the ex-Atletico Baleares player) prodded the home team level. Stand-in centre half Jose Angel looked at fault for the goal. With the conditions making the pitch more and more difficult to play on, tempers and tackles began to get frayed.
In the 53rd minute Mallorca forced a corner down the right. Bonilla took it and his curler evaded Lluna and looped into the net for a spectacular (as it turned out) winner. There was perhaps a hint of wind assistance involved in the goal but it was nevertheless spectacular. With tackles flying in from all angles, the referee from Barcelona, Barcelo Roca, was finding it difficult to keep on top of proceedings. Marc Pedraza was booked for a shove in the 65th minute which was possibly a bookable offence but his second yellow eight minutes later was no more than a coming together. The referee showed Pedraza his second yellow and he was off. That was a very, very harsh decision and one I hope Mallorca will appeal against during the week.
Mallorca were really up against it now but some resolute defending saw them hang on for a great win which sees them six points ahead of second-place Villareal B on 50 points.
I said before the season started that when winter sets in some of our games may have to carry governmental health warnings. This was one of the games that wasn't good to watch by any stretch of the imagination but three points were won nevertheless. Neither the intense rain nor the harsh red card shown to Pedraza could dent Real Mallorca's spirit as they hung on grimly a man down. Canary Islander Aridai again showed his quality and will be an important player when it comes to play-offs in June. He looked at a different level to anybody on the pitch on Sunday.
It was good to see Arta's Abdon Prats back on the score-sheet (his eighth of the season) after a barren spell in front of goal. He chased lost causes all game before being substituted in the second half as Mallorca turned to defensive mode following Pedraza's dismissal.
All the talk after the game was about Bonilla's work of art. Scoring direct from a corner kick is never easy and his effort was worthy of our victory. We haven't seen a strike like that since Jovan Stankovic scored away at Alaves in the 1998 cup semi-final.
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