Real Mallorca, after a disastrous first half, came good after the break to snatch a point, 1-1, against Oviedo. The first 45 minutes were probably the worst we’ve played all season away from home. Oviedo were all over us like a rash and it looked only a matter of time before the home side would score. In fact it was nine minutes when they opened their account and the goal had an element of fluke about it. The ball landed on the head of the dreadlocked Ibea and he somehow steered it into the net past a helpless Parera.
During the first half there was a sudden invasion of Oviedo Ultras (called the Symmachhiarti), who were protesting against strong measures handed out by the anti-violence committee - all that palaver and they missed their team’s only goal. After the shocking start, everything changed. Instead of having a five-man midfield, coach Vicente Moreno decided to change our formation. Abdon Prats, who had one of his tetchy performances, was booked for a foul followed by a few verbals, going off to allow the misfiring Carlos Castro to make a rare appearance. His contribution was the usual nothing.
Mallorca were like a team inspired after Abdon left proceedings. Oviedo weren’t so intense and we began to dominate. In the 52nd minute Aridai made a break down the right, slopping his way through a sea of mud near the corner flag, he controlled the ball brilliantly and put over an inch-perfect cross for Lago Junior to force the ball home. For the second game running, the Ivorian was our man of the match. Stats showed he ran ten kilometres during the 93 minutes.
The whole game changed for the better in the second half with our defence quite magnificent. Just how Oviedo didn’t score was unbelievable. They got very frustrated and were shown four yellow cards.
In injury time came the game’s major talking-point. Mallorca’s goal came under siege, somehow we scrambled the ball clear, Salva Sevilla (who pulled the strings for Mallorca in midfield) found Aridai unmarked. He dashed past two wayward tackles and homed in on goal in a one-on-one situation. He allowed the Argentine-born goalkeeper Champagne to make himself big and somehow he saved Aridai’s effort. He knew he’d missed a golden chance and was inconsolable at the end. It was that kind of second half, a pure adrenaline rush as Mallorca hung on for a point at a difficult ground where not many teams come away with anything.