Real Mallorca suffered their first home defeat since December, when on Sunday night they went down to a superior Real Sociedad 0-1 in front of a fantastic 18,132 crowd. That was Mallorca’s biggest La Liga gate since 2013.
The islanders were impressive, especially in the first half, with new Japanese signing Kubo (now called “Take”) sitting high in the stands. He won’t be an automatic choice, although could well get some game time at the Mestalla next Sunday.
Mallorca were organised with a granite-like defence in the first half. Coach Vicente Moreno’s 4-4-2 line up was composed of tight narrow lines which clogged the midfield, suffocating any space Sociedad tried to create.
The outstanding performance on the pitch came from Sociedad’s young Norwegian blond Adonis, 20-year-old Martin Odegaard.He was the player of the weekend in Spanish top flight football.
Quality decides matches and Mallorca couldn’t handle the young Norwegian’s skill, dizzying pace and in the end clinical finishing, which is the reason Real Madrid paid four million euros for him as a 16 year old in 2015.
Real Sociedad (Los Donostriarras), who are on the verge of signing 33-year-old Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal, spent most of the first half on the back foot with Mallorca looking dangerous but rarely troubling Binissalem-born goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya in the Sociedad goal.
On the stroke of half time, a shot from Oyarzabal, with pace, came back off the post and was grabbed at the second attempt by Reina in the home goal – a let off for Mallorca.
We found out the hard way on Sunday night just what La Liga is all about, teams soak up pressure, wait until their opponents look vulnerable then hit them on the break.
The talk at half time was all about a player who just gets better game by game, Baba. The young Ghanaian displayed all the virtues that he showed towards the end of last season in our fantastic play-off run.
One memorable moment saw him win a huge ovation from the crowd when in a race with Spanish international Oyarzabal he came out of the tackle with the ball at his feet.
After the break, Mallorca seemed to have lost their rhythm and a few passes began to go astray, the highlight being a shot from full back Lumor which hit the post and went wide.
The heat and humidity got to the players and the game became scrappy. Then seven minutes from time, heartache for the local fans.
Moya’s clearance from a corner found Portu in midfield, he did a one-two with Odegaard, who darted through our defence (most of whom were running back from the corner kick) and made no mistake with a clinical finish, 0-1.
I find it hard to understand why Real Madrid, who are struggling big time, can allow a player with the undoubted quality of Odegaard to go out on loan?
THE VERDICT: Before the game there was a minute’s silence for the seven victims of the terrible air accident earlier that afternoon.
After the game, some of the comments I heard regarding Mallorca’s performance where a bit harsh.
I thought we played to the best of our abilities and fans have to realise that at least nine players in our squad on Sunday night have NEVER played at this level before.
The defeat was a learning curve for the team, nobody said our return back in La Liga after six years was going to be easy. The visitors had seven internationalists on display.
True, we missed chances, gave the ball away too many times but we are slowly getting up to the higher standard which is required and, with the exception of Baba, are still slightly lacking in quality.
For some inexplicable reason, there were no water breaks in the game with temperatures hovering around 30C (the high 80s Fahrenheit).
One lady spectator fainted and had to receive medical attention.
Another rant from me was the number of away fans sitting in the middle of local supporters.
Several hundred Sociedad followers had made the trip from San Sebastian, most of them sitting in a packed South end, which is a designated area for away fans. However, around 50 were sitting with Mallorca fans near where I sit.
Not sure how they got there, but it only takes a couple of irate local idiots and a nasty incident could have broken out. There is no way away fans should be allowed to sit amongst local supporters.
With the huge gate, getting to and from and in and out of Son Moix was a logistical nightmare. The infrastructure around the stadium is simply not capable of handling the volume of traffic that turned up on Sunday night.
I recommend in future, if people want to attend games against top La Liga sides, get to the ground well before kick off.
Next up for Mallorca, away at Valencia next Sunday night at 5 pm.
AND FINALLY, the old ones are still the best.
A man spends an evening clubbing with a more mature lady. She looks very attractive for her 63 years, so he thinks to himself, I wonder if she has a really hot daughter at home.
They have a last drink and the woman whispers in his ear “Have you ever had a sportsman’s double?”
The man’s curious and asks her “What’s that all about?” She tells him “It’s a mother and daughter threesome.”
The man’s heart is racing in anticipation as the woman tells him “Tonight is your lucky night.”
They go back to her place, she puts the hall light on and shouts upstairs “Mum, are you still awake?!”