Mallorca players celebrate against Alcorcon.

03-02-2019

Real Mallorca maintained their almost perfect home record when they scored with their first serious opportunity after just one minute 48 seconds in front of 7,500 well wrapped-up supporters. Watford loanee from Ecuador, Estupinan, burst into the 18-yard box, his pass found Aridai unmarked at the far post and he made no mistake from close range. I can't remember us scoring a goal so early, but it was no more than Mallorca deserved with our neat, measured opening. Alcorcon looked shell-shocked and worse was to follow for them in the nineteenth minute.

Lago Junior went on a mazy run, cut into the penalty area and was then unceremoniously up-ended - clear penalty. Then came a war of words between Lago Junior and Aridai. It was a case of I'm taking it - no you're not, I'm taking it. The penalty taker should be decided on the training ground before a game. Eventually neither took it. Up stepped new signing Ante Budimir and his chipped penalty (a Panenka) doubled Mallorca's lead. The new Croatian worked hard and looked a good player. Once he learns a bit of Spanish and gets used to numpty Spanish referees, he could be a real asset. He managed to get himself sent off in the 69th minute for the first time in his career after two soft yellow cards for alleged over use of the elbow, but left the pitch to a standing ovation.

After Mallorca dominating the first half, the second one nearly proved our undoing. Alcorcon, as so often happens at the Son Moix in the second period, began to take control. Two players, Aly and Rodas, began to show just what the Madrid side were missing in the first half. A free kick by Juan Munoz rattled the goal frame then minutes later Mallorca keeper Manolo Reina pushed a Victor Casadesus effort past the post.

After 20 minutes of the second half, with Mallorca struggling to gain possession, new loan signing Leo Suarez was introduced. With his second touch he put through a pearler of a pass to another substitute, Nikola Stojiljkovic. The ex-Red Star Belgrade player was through on a one-on-one with Jimenez. Somehow the Alcorcon keeper made himself big and the chance was gone.

Minutes later and another elbow offence by Budimir saw referee Soto Grado flash a red and the Croat was off. I think Mallorca should appeal the dismissal because the second foul hardly warranted a yellow card. Mallorca were now down to 10 men and coach Vicente Moreno had to do a bit of pack-shuffling, bringing on Marc Pedraza for Dani Rodriguez, who played his best game for Mallorca since arriving in August.

It was a hectic finale but Mallorca hung on for a vital win which saw us one point from the play-off mix.

Once again Real Mallorca put in a Jekyll and Hyde performance. Brilliant first half, especially the first 20 minutes, but after the break, if it hadn't been for some top interventions from goalkeeper Manolo Reina, the result could have been oh so different. I know the goalkeeper gets criticised for some of his distributions, but he's a vital part of this Mallorca team. We managed without talisman Salva Sevilla, with the Ghanaian youngster Baba playing one of his best games, as did his midfield partner, Dani Rodriguez. Somebody said after the game that on our first half showing, Real Mallorca have the makings of a “Primera” league side.

I can't remember a game when we didn’t have a simple corner kick in 94 minutes, but if Alcorcon had posed more threat in front of goal, they could have snatched at least a draw. Our three new signings all got some game time and appear to be good acquisitions. Only time will tell.

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