19-11-2018

In a game between two second division teams who played in European finals in the 1990s, Real Mallorca committed one of football’s cardinal sins in Zaragoza when they threw away a comfortable two-goal lead to hold on for a draw. The result felt more like a defeat than a point shared. We totally dominated play in the first half. Zaragoza didn’t know what had hit them when we went two up in 20 minutes. Lago Junior scored his fourth goal in as many games and became our leading scorer (seven) with a brace in the sixth and twentieth minutes. In any other game, he would have been named man of the match, but on Saturday that honour went to the second choice keeper, Miquel Parera, who made two blinding saves near the end to keep us in the game.

Besides Lago’s goals, the main talking point was the injury to Salva Sevilla. In the 50th minute he took the full force of the ball in his “goolies” and went down in agony. I could feel his pain lying on the sofa in our front room. Salva tried to play on but collapsed and was carried off to hospital. Salva flew back to Palma with his team mates on Sunday and appears to be none the worse for wear. The “Silver Fox” is a major influence in the Mallorca team and, as it showed, without him pulling the strings in midfield we struggled.

In a helter-skelter start, Mallorca produced their best away form of the season and Zaragoza looked to be on the end of a hiding. Their new coach Lucas Alcaraz shuffled his pack at half time and the changes had an immediate effect as Mallorca were forced onto the back foot. The home side upped the tempo and pulled one back in the 65th minute. This goal was fortuitousness personified. A scuffed shot from Marc Gual (his first touch) saw the ball hit both goalposts before trickling over the line; Zaragoza were back in the game.

In the 70th minute Aridai was involved in another one-on-one incident, this time with the Zaragoza keeper Christian Alvarez. It was “deja vu” for the Las Palmas-born player as he homed in with only Alvarez to beat. It was a similar situation to the one against Oviedo a fortnight ago when, instead of making the logical choice of chipping the keeper, he tried to waltz around him and the chance was gone. A minute later Lopez missed another gift as the home side knocked harder on our defensive door. Then came the predictable equaliser, and it was another scrappy affair. The ball actually stopped on the Mallorca goal-line; striker Pombo only had to toe-poke the ball into the net. It was like the Alamo in the last ten minutes but we managed to get a point thanks to the heroics of Parera.

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