Real Mallorca, after a brilliant opening half hour, beat Madrid side Rayo Majadahonda 2-0 to keep their hopes of a play-off in June very much alive. Cadiz beat Numancia on Sunday lunchtime with a 96th-minute winner, leaving Mallorca in fifth. Deportivo surprisingly lost to Extremadura and are now four points adrift of the play-offs. There’s more pressure now on Malaga, Granada and Deportivo, the big budget sides, and it's surely going to be a very tight finish to the season.
On a decidedly blustery and chilly Saturday night, Mallorca overcame a visiting side who looked more than capable upfront but vulnerable in defence. As early as the fifth minute, our Serbian striker Budimir shot wide when it looked easier to score and Lago saw an effort come back off the post. Our opening goal after 17 minutes was as big a gift as you'd see anywhere. Rayo's centre back, Andujar, was woefully short with a headed back pass to keeper Basilio. Aridai Cabrera nipped in between the two of them and netted an opportunist’s goal. The islanders had their tails up and more goals looked forthcoming. Eight minutes later, Lago Junior, who ran the visiting defence ragged, was hauled back in the 18-yard box - a penalty no question. He took the resultant kick, doubling Mallorca's lead. As half time arrived, Mallorca fans had witnessed a frenetic game of football from their favourites.
The second half, however, was not of the same high octane as the first. Rayo made a couple of changes which upped their game as the Mallorca defence came under pressure. For half an hour we looked leggy and Lago, who took a knock just before half time, was definitely not 100%. He should have been taken off at the end of the first half, especially with two huge games on the agenda. In the 66th minute a better than normal referee, Iglesias Villanueva, pointed to the penalty spot after Valjent had allegedly used a hand. It was a harsh decision but justice was done when Manolo Reina saved with a little help from his right leg.
Rayo had a couple of forays forward but their finishing was woeful. Their No. 7 was none other than Enzo Zidane (one of Zinedine’s boys) but he was conspicuous by his absence. Another team in the top part of the table would have punished us for some slack defending but Mallorca ran out worthy winners. The visitors had a player sent off near the end and we didn’t receive a single yellow. That’s got to be a first.
This was a superb result after five of the top six teams all won (leaders Osasuna play Elche on Monday night). Forty-two of our 58 points total have been won at the Son Moix. In the last nine games we've won eight and drawn one: 16 goals for 10 against. Mallorca and La Liga side Rayo Vallecano are the only teams in the top two Spanish leagues who have not had a goalless draw this season.
The weather wasn't great on Saturday night but surely we could have had a bigger attendance than 7,649 (that included five away fans). With the team flying high and playing some great football at the Son Moix, the players deserve better support.