Alex Lopez, who hadn’t played since Oviedo on 9 March, hit a spectacular 95th minute winner (his fourth as a substitute) which saw Mallorca defeat the in-form Sporting Gijon 2-1 on Sunday in front of a season’s best crowd of 11,302. This game had everything. We had two disallowed goals, and two possible penalty decisions denied, none of these incidents helped by a terrible referee and his incompetent line assistants.
The game began at a blistering pace with Mallorca dominating play. In the 18th minute they went ahead with the first of many controversial decisions from referee Diaz de Mera. Budimir found himself in acres of space to score the opener but looked to be a yard offside. The goal was allowed to stand. Then, as happens a lot with Real Mallorca when they go ahead early doors, the foot came off the gas and they allowed the visitors back into the game. The Asturians drew level with another dubious goal. Serbian hit man Djurdjevic looked suspiciously offside as he scored with a shot that beat Reina at the near post.
In the second half the game became scrappy with both teams giving the ball away too much. Mallorca pushed forward and forced corner after corner. They fenced Sporting Gijon in, and their goalkeeper Marino was a busy boy. Then Budimir thought he’d scored but the referee inexplicably ruled it out. Aridai found the net; that effort was also overruled. After that incident Budimir and goalkeeper Marino had a coming together. The keeper stayed down for several minutes, a stretcher came on but Marino walked off slowly, helped by Sporting’s medical staff. It looked like he’d damaged his collar bone.
Our coach Vicente Moreno, back in his natural habitat on the bench after his three game suspension, began to shuffle the pack. Leo Suarez came on for Aridai who had missed a sitter in a one-on-one situation with the substitute Gijon goalkeeper. Budimar was replaced by Abdon Prats, and his get stuck in attitude was causing the Gijon defence all sorts of problems. Pedraza came off to be replaced by the forgotten man Alex Lopez as Mallorca switched to 4-2-4.
Then it all kicked off. Babin at the heart of the visiting defence nearly pulled Lopez’s shirt off his back in the area. No penalty said the referee who was having a nightmare. With time running out, Mallorca summoned one last attack. My man of the match, Dani Rodriguez, lobbed a high ball into the area, Alex Lopez latched onto it and his left foot shot beat Dani Martin all ends up
It’s becoming very tight at the top of La Segunda after the weekend’s games, with Albacete and Granada drawing. We were the only team in the top four to gain maximum points and are now just one point behind third-placed Albacete and four behind second-placed Granada who are in the automatic promotion spot, with five games left to play.