Real Mallorca’s dream of reaching the play-offs was back on the agenda when they beat a “disciplined” Real Oviedo 1-0 in front of 8,032 spectators on Saturday after two consecutive draws. That's now three months during which Mallorca are unbeaten at 'Fortress Son Moix', plus another clean sheet with thirteen games left to play. A 68th minute goal from Ecuadorian left back Pervis Estupiñan saw Mallorca move above Oviedo into seventh place, just two points behind sixth-placed Cadiz. The goal came from a training ground move instigated by second coach Dani Pendin. Salva Sevilla took a short corner, rolling the ball into the path of Estupiñan and his strong shot went through a sea of legs before nestling in the corner of Oviedo’s goal.
The goal was no more than Mallorca deserved after a truly awful first half. Neither goalkeeper was tested. The final stats showed that in the 93 minutes played, we had 17 shots, Oviedo had none. We had a half chance in the 37th minute, a superb Budimir robbed a visiting defender, showing exquisite ball control, he passed to Dani Rodriguez whose effort went high and wide.
Once again the game changed after the break. Mallorca at home recently have been a second half team and although Oviedo somehow dominated the possession count, Mallorca looked the more likely to score. With the introduction of substitutes Leo Suarez, Stoichkov and, near the end, Abdon Prats, Mallorca took control and in the end were worthy winners.
Oviedo’s coach Anquela and his players came in for a maelstrom of criticism from the Asturian press on Sunday as they were punished for their complete lack of ambition and justice was done when we scored our well-worked opener.
There was a sizeable amount of travelling supporters, some of them not seated in their designated away section. They must have been unhappy by their team not challenging our keeper Manolo Reina or indeed the scoreboard. The travelling supporters were in full song before the game, but as the game progressed, they seemed to run out of words and eventually they weren’t singing any more.
The name on everybody’s lips during and after the game, and indeed all over the press and social media, was Croatian striker Ante Budimir. He well and truly nailed his red and black colours to the mast with a magistral performance - all that was missing was a goal. This guy has got a sweet left foot and has a burst of speed. He looks for all intents and purposes to be a top league player; not as he has been, languishing down the bottom of the second division of Italian football.
It's a long time since we've had a player with his quality leading the attack, and near the end the crowd could be heard shouting “Budi, Budi” as our new hero emerged. His Italian parent club Crotone are in the bottom three of the Italian second division and he has an option-to-buy clause on his loan deal at Mallorca. It's imperative our director of football gets the wheels in motion and signs Budimir when his loan spell runs out on 30 June.