Extremadura 0 - Real Mallorca 0
Real Mallorca got the point they needed at Extremadura with a 0-0 draw, consolidating their playoff place, finishing fifth in La Segunda. For the fourth time in 30 years Mallorca go through the playoff lottery, where they'll face the only team who've beaten us at home and away this season, Albacete. They haven't played in La Liga since 2005 and Mallorca are aiming to return to the top flight after a six-year absence. The first leg takes place at the Son Moix on Thursday night at 9pm with the return in Albacete next Sunday at 7pm.
After 42 games, a much-changed Real Mallorca, marked by the presence of players who normally sit on the bench, finished the season in a place nobody in their wildest dreams would have imagined last August when it all kicked off. Saturday's game, as expected, was very low key with honours even. Our second-choice goalkeeper Miguel Parera was the main instigator in our getting the all-important point, with three brilliant saves. The young Manacor keeper has waited a long time to make his league debut and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands on Saturday.
Up front both Buenacasa and Stoichkov looked impressive, and the introduction of 19-year-old, Madrid-born Cameroonian, goalscoring sensation Victor De Baunbag means we have lots of attacking options.
The first league game against Albacete was in September last year. Mallorca were really up against it when captain Xisco Campos was carried off after a nasty head and neck injury. To make matters worse, Antonio Raillo was sent off, then ex-Mallorca player Torito Acuna scored two late goals and we lost 3-1. In the return fixture in February, a 96th minute penalty saw Albacete complete a 2-0 win.
On Thursday we can expect another high-voltage game at the Son Moix. Mallorca must start with all guns blazing; nothing less than at least a two-goal advantage will suffice. If we perform another miracle and get into the playoff final, we would face either Malaga or Deportivo. These two games would take place on Thursday 20 June at 9pm at the Son Moix with the return on Sunday 23 June at 9pm. Albacete are on paper the worst opponents Mallorca could have faced or at least the team which has caused us most headaches this season.
There is a very important rule in the playoff final. In case of a draw after normal time, it's the usual extra time. Once that finishes and if there's still no outcome, there is no penalty shootout. The winner (who is promoted to La Liga) will be the team finishing higher in La Segunda, which makes it all the more nerve-wracking.