A lacklustre Real Mallorca suffered their second successive one-goal defeat when they went down to Sporting Gijon on Saturday, prompting the local media to talk about a mini crisis. Mallorca haven’t won at El Molinon since 2012 and never looked or even got close to any kind of result in a game spoilt by torrential rain on the Atlantic coast of Asturias. Before the game kicked off, Gijon had turned their ground into a fortress, winning four and drawing four of their last eight games. They looked like a side who grind out results. Mallorca, on the other hand, played their worst game of the season away from home.
A serious and costly mistake by the normally reliable left back Joan Sastre (who’s not the same player as he was last season) in the 58th minute handed the home side a comfortable three points. Antonio Raillo cleared the ball as far as Sastre, who allowed himself to be dispossessed in front of goal by Djurdjevic, who in turn crossed the ball, and Derby County loanee Nick Blackman easily beat the returning Manolo Reina to put the home team ahead.
The first half was pretty much all Sporting Gijon. Mallorca had a couple of half-hearted attacks that came to nothing as, far too often, we won the ball then immediately gave it away. We never looked comfortable and too many of our players didn’t turn up. Reliable full back Fran Gamez, who’s been a revelation this season, had a nightmare, as did Sastre, both of them being run ragged by the speedy Gijon wide players. The first half seemed to last forever, not helped by a Mallorca attack that could have played all week and still couldn’t find the net.
In midfield Dani Rodriguez still doesn’t look sharp enough at the moment and “Silver Fox” Salva Sevilla played far too deep, failing to supply any telling through balls to a lone striker Alex Lopez, who could have played with his umbrella up to protect him from the rain, as he hardly touched the ball all night. Lago Junior looked out of sorts and had a quiet game. If he doesn’t play well, the rest of the team follow suit.
In the second half with the rain continuing to hose it down, the game became a scrap-fest and wasn’t for the purist. Manolo Reina deserved his man of the match credentials with two stunning saves to keep the score decent, then as time ran out he came up for two corners, both of which came to nothing. There was a bit of slapstick comedy thrown in towards the end when two Gijon players, faced with an open goal, collided with each other in an effort to score, and they both toppled over, much to the amusement of watching fans in the Mallorcafé. The referee added on four minutes before blowing for full time, putting us all out of our misery in what was a dire game.
Suspended coach Vicente Moreno sat high in the stands looking on as his charges were never at the races. Our away form continues to be worrying, only two wins on the road. Stand-in coach Dani Pendin tried to introduce more attacking options near the end but Abdon Prats, who was introduced in the 77th minute, didn’t touch the ball once. Aridai’s trickery down the right wing was sorely missed, with once again his replacement Valcarce failing miserably.