Real Mallorca moved up to sixth in La Segunda and into the play-offs after a hard-won 1-0 three points against a feisty Numancia. A seventh minute Aridai Cabrera goal saw us hang on to remain unbeaten in six games against obliging opponents who made us work hard for this win. Before the game I mentioned to friends that the swirling wind would play a major part in proceedings and my premonition proved correct. The game started in a stiff breeze blowing north to south but towards the end moved up to force six (strong breeze) on my portable Beaufort scale windometer. The second half was dreadful, caused in no uncertain manner by players thumping the ball skywards in windy conditions instead of the logical keep it on the pitch scenario.
It took Real Mallorca seven minutes to go ahead. Lago Junior jinked his way past two defenders, his pass found Aridai and the Canary Islander slid it in at the far post; Mallorca were deservedly ahead. Early doors it looked like Numancia’s Calvia-born goalkeeper Juan Carlos Sanchez was jittery to say the least as he struggled even to catch the ball. As the game progressed it became obvious Mallorca were missing the absent Salva Sevilla. We needed to settle quickly and learn a new script. No matter how hard his replacement Dani Rodriguez tried, there was just no way he was going to fill Salva’s boots.
Numancia looked a tricky side but their finishing was woeful as half time approached. Three minutes before the interval Mallorca’s goalscoring hero Aridai went down off the ball with what looked like a hamstring injury and hobbled off to be replaced by Sergio Buenacasa. After the break Mallorca continued where they had left off, full of intensity, domination and looking dangerous going forward. Then the whole game changed. It became a midfield “scrap-fest” with Mallorca’s first half invention disappearing.
In the 31st minute referee Dominguez Cervantes went missing. Where could he have disappeared to? Turned out he’d pulled a muscle and went to sit on the Mallorca bench to get treatment.
Ten minutes later Mallorca used up their get out of jail card. Numancia’s Yeboah, who had led Joan Sastre a merry dance, went down in the box. It looked a clear-cut penalty but the referee said “no”. Next season we’ll have VAR in La Segunda. That could have decided our fate on Sunday, as the visitors had another couple of legitimate penalty shouts that the referee waved away. Yeboah continued to torment our defence as six added minutes went up on the board. In the end, with more hard work than brilliance, Mallorca gained another home win and a clean sheet to move them into the higher echelons of the Spanish second division.