With only their fourth away win of the season, Real Mallorca beat Malaga 1-0 on Saturday, a result which sees them move into fourth place in La Segunda. We’re now just six points behind second-placed Granada who we play in Palma on the weekend of 1/2 June. This game had a 0-0 draw written all over it until Leo Suarez hit the winning goal with just four minutes of normal time remaining.
Mallorca exited Spain’s fourth city, leaving the impression that we will be very difficult to beat in the remaining six fixtures. Saturday’s fantastic win was worth its weight in gold, sending out an unequivocal message to the other teams at the top - Mallorca are on the march.
We had a real let-off in the seventh minute when Fran Gamez, who was given a roasting from Malaga’s left winger Ontiveros for most of the game, upended him in the area in what looked like a stonewall penalty. Luckily for us the referee was in a lenient mood and dismissed appeals from the home team. All Malaga’s attacks came down the left wing and every time the omnipresent Ontiveros got the ball there were panic stations.
Twelve minutes into the game and we had our first real chance. Budimir, who looks to have lost a bit of the sparkle he had a month ago, saw his effort easily saved by Moroccan international goalkeeper Munir. Then Dani Rodriguez swivelled and shot. That effort was pushed out for a corner which came to nothing.
As temperatures reached 26°C, both teams were glad to hear the half-time whistle The first half had been played at La Liga tempo and we were wondering if the Malaguistas could keep their frantic pace up. It turned out they couldn’t but they still looked a threat coming forward.
Then came the game changer in the 70th minute. Over 23,000 fans in La Rosaleda rose to their feet in expectation of Malaga’s long-awaited opener. An Adrian header looked goal-bound but somehow Manolo Reina’s outstretched hand acrobatically pushed the ball over the bar: a stunning save from the Malaga-born veteran. After that, Malaga heads dropped and players began to wilt in the heat. Fresh legs were required for Mallorca, as Abdon Prats and Leo Suarez came on for Budimir and Aridai respectively.
Two minutes from time Salva Sevilla passed to Abdon. He took the ball to the goal line before finding Leo Suarez unmarked just inside the box. His left foot effort was hammered low into the bottom corner of Munir’s goal and, against all odds, Mallorca were ahead.
Now comes another tough game on Sunday when Sporting Gijon come to Palma. They drew 1-1 at home to Elche and their play-off chances took a knock, although they have been the form team in La Segunda over the past six weeks. They’re likely to bring a number of travelling supporters as they are one of the best-followed teams in our league, both home and away.