After a weekend when Everton were forced to call the police on Sunday night as their neighbours let in more than six! – Real Mallorca made it two wins on the bounce when they defeated fellow holiday islanders Tenerife 2-0 on Saturday. Again this was far from being a stroll in the autumn sunshine for Real Mallorca and they opened their account with a training ground free kick manoeuvre in the 20th minute, our first goal from a free kick set piece since January. Left back Brian Olivan floated over the kick and centre back Martin Valjent rose to head a beauty into the far corner. That goal was the Slovakian international’s first in a Mallorca shirt since he arrived from Italian side Chievo in 2018. We started the game well and pushed Tenerife back into their own half for the first 30 minutes but after that we became sloppy as the visitors began to find some space especially in midfield.
Tenerife, like Sabadell last week, are not what are classed as fearsome rivals and they both will do well to finish around halfway at the end of the season. Once again Mallorca missed that vital spark, that game-changer, and we struggled to increase our 20th minute lead. There was an infuriating lack of rhythm about our play and a better side then Tenerife would have given us problems. Only some sporadic sparks came from Lago Junior (who celebrated his first time call up to the Ivory Coast squad) by playing his best game for ages. Up front Abdon Prats and new Brazilian signing Murilo were more or less inoperative, Abdon had a half chance early doors, seeing his effort deflected wide for a corner. Murilo was involved in a clear penalty shout in the 35th minute which a pernickety referee waved away without even a glimpse at the VAR screen. Tenerife’s first real attack came in the 39th minute. The normally reliable Salva Sevilla lost the ball in midfield and in the resulting penalty area scramble Jacobo rattled the crossbar with Reina beaten. Half time 1-0.
The second half got off to the worst possible start for Real Mallorca who allowed themselves to be dominated by a somewhat more ambitious but equally inoperative Tenerife side. In our first attack of the second half, Dani Rodriguez was brought down in the area. This time the referee awaited the VAR committee’s decision. It looked less a penalty than the other one, as the spot kick was given with Dani Rodriguez converting 2-0. That was Dani’s second goal in two games as we await a goal from a forward player!!
The game became scrappy and the Spanish word “flojo” (slack, sluggish) came to mind as Mallorca appeared to fall asleep. The Tenerife coach made changes (it’s still allowed to have five subs in Spanish football) and the introduction of Suso and Apeh injected much needed pace into their attack. Our goal was beginning to lead a charmed life as Manolo Reina had to make several crucial saves. Then ex Tottenham Hotspur academy player (and ex At. Baleares) Samuel Shashova had the ball in the net for the Canary Islanders, but after VAR consultation he was adjudged offside. Mallorca had a wake-up call and were being saved by their reliability in defence, the main reason why they’d kept a clean sheet in three games.
With time running out, our coach made several changes, bringing on new signings Brian Cufre and Galarreta. Another substitute, Antonio Sanchez, was put through by Febas near the end but a brilliant tackle by a Tenerife defender thwarted what looked to be our third goal.
It’s a fact that in this second division what counts are victories not the good of the game. Yes, it’s three more points, three clean sheets and we’re moving back up the league into seventh. However the vibes the team are giving out continue to show they have a long way to go to convince even the most diehard fans. The general synopsis on the game from the fans was it’s the same old story, we seem unable to put a game to bed after we take an early lead.
The Mallorcafé were doing brisk business with their “A big pizza and six beers for 10 euros” promotion which, along with the win, made the fans happy. The only groans of disapproval came when TV cameras homed in on “want away” striker Ante Budimir sitting in the stand. By the time this article is published, a decision will have been made on his future. As to the “will the fans forgive him if he stays?”, fellow supporter Steve Baggaley reckons if Budimir scores a shed full of goals when he comes back, the fans will forgive him his discrepancies – or as Steve says “Football fans are fickle.” He should know, his other team is Stoke City!!
Mallorca make the long trek up to Galicia to face Lugo next Monday at 16.00.
Dolly Parton and Queen Elizabeth II are at the Pearly Gates on the same day and are waiting to be admitted. They’re told there’s only one space left in Heaven, so the chief angel has to make a decision. The angel says to Dolly “Is there some reason I should let you into Heaven?” Dolly takes her top off “Look at these perfect boobs, the most perfect God ever created. I’m sure it will please The Lord to be able to see them for eternity.”
The angel asks the Queen the same question. She walks over to the toilet and pulls the chain without saying a word. The angel immediately says “Okay, your majesty, you may go in.” Dolly’s outraged, asking “What’s all that about? I showed you two of God’s finest creations and I get a knock back? All she did was flush the commode and she gets in – explain please!” “Sorry Dolly,” answers the angel, “but even in Heaven a royal flush beats a pair – no matter how big they are!”