Mallorca's star player on Sunday, Lago Junior, in action.

14-04-2019

Real Mallorca’s midfield veteran “Silver Fox” Salva Sevilla snaffled a 90th minute equaliser, his first goal of the season, to move the islanders further up the play-off places and into fifth place. This game wasn’t for the purist, in fact it was awful, but the late goal from Sevilla could be worth its weight in gold. It looked like Mallorca had bottled the chance to take advantage of Malaga and Deportivo losing on Saturday, but in this league, where the bottom sides are winning and the top teams are dropping points on the run-in, Mallorca somehow snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat. Numancia, with an impressive home record, went ahead with a flukey opener after just seven minutes. A free kick (one of the many for the home side in the first half) saw Marc Mateu’s effort cannon off the legs of Joan Sastre. In his attempt to clear the ball, he deflected it into his own net. Sastre has been poor of late and I feel it’s time for coach Moreno to bring back Fran Gamez. He did appear for a tiring Salva Ruiz in the 79th minute and was part of Mallorca's second half resurgence.

It was the final third and the final pass that let Mallorca down. Time and time again passes were over-hit and the watching home fans in the Mallorcafé were getting more and more frustrated. In the second half Aridai Cabrera had one of his best games of the season. Then, with 71 minutes on the clock, stand-in coach Dani Pendin took Aridai off to replace him with Leo Suarez. However, he made a huge difference as Numancia’s Majorca-born keeper Juan Carlos had to make two snap saves from the diminutive Argentine. The bustling substitute Abdon Prats once again looked up for a scrap as Mallorca pressed for the all-important equaliser.

Then came the equaliser and what a build-up. Lago Junior, who had more energy than the national grid, beat Atienza near the corner flag, and side-stepping a further challenge he put over a cross. Numancia’s centre back Nacho somehow got the ball tangled up in his legs, allowing Salva Sevilla to pounce, pushing the ball into the net.

I’m not going to criticise the team for dropping points in their last two away games against sides we should be beating. It was a bad game, great result, as our brilliant season heads for an exciting climax. Nobody last summer in their wildest dreams would have imagined we’d even get close to the heady heights we are in now. A late save from a mostly-untroubled Mallorca captain/goalkeeper Manolo Reina kept Mallorca in the game. Before the season started, pundits described La Segunda 2018/19 as the toughest ever. In fact, it’s so tough that Malaga’s manager, Ramon Munez, was sacked after they lost 2-1 to Extremadura on Saturday night after two bad results.

Mallorca’s uncertain away form once again came under the microscope, but the team overcame their first-half nervousness to gain a hugely important away point. The suspended Vicente Moreno sat in the press box and could be seen on TV talking, with the help of an electronic device which is not meant to be used. But who cares!?

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