After a weekend when a Scouse friend of mine has been teaching his dog new tricks, like this one : when Liverpool lose in the league, it sits down, if Liverpool draw, it rolls over; I asked him what it does if Liverpool win – he replied “Don’t know, I've only had him six weeks !” – Real Mallorca, in a high octane first 20 minutes (when they went 0-3 up), ran out 1-3 winners against Rayo Vallecano in Madrid on Saturday afternoon. The result, and Espanyol losing 1-0 at Girona (who’ve now done the double over Espanyol this season), meant we clawed back the three points difference between us and Espanyol and share the top spot on 45 points, with the Barcelona side having a marginally superior goal difference.
They have +21, we have +20. Mallorca were the only team in the top six of La Liga SmartBank last weekend to win. Mallorca remain the ONLY side in both the top two Spanish professional leagues to be unbeaten away from home. Our win on Saturday was helped no end by the form of striker Abdon Prats who had a superb game, scoring one goal and assisting in the other two. His stats of 7 goals in 10 matches proves that with his new contract still unsigned, he must put pen to paper a.s.a.p. He was nothing short of brilliant on Saturday.
The only down side for Mallorca was an injury to right back Fran Gamez. Replacing the also injured Joan Sastre, Gamez, in an effort to stop a goal-scoring chance for Rayo, tore a calf muscle which, according to early reports, could see him out for at least a month. As Gamez limped off he was distraught and in tears. Once again full back becomes our “bogey” position and let’s hope Sastre can get back fit to play in Mallorca’s next game.
In 20 minutes all the doubts generated since the end of 2020 were quickly dispersed. With just two minutes 23 seconds on the clock, Sanchez intercepted a Rayo throw-in near the corner flag. He headed the ball onto Amath who in turn headed down to Abdon. He slipped the ball back to Amath (who went on to miss a sitter later on) and the Senegal striker (on loan from Getafe) scored his fourth of the campaign, 0-1.
Nine minutes later and the islanders doubled their lead and it was that man Abdon Prats involved again. This time he cut inside and fired a low shot which Rayo’s North Macedonian goalkeeper Dimitrievsky could only parry with his legs, the ball rebounded to Abdon who gleefully netted the spillage, 0-2.
Three minutes later up the other end, Rayo missed a golden chance to pull one back. This time ex Mallorquinista Luis Suarez blazed over from six yards when scoring looked easier – a let off for Mallorca.
In the 18th minute came Mallorca’s third. We won a free kick just outside the left-hand side of the Rayo area. This looked to be well in dead-ball expert Salva Sevilla’s sights and he duly obliged with yet another superb free kick goal. The Rayo ‘keeper got hands to the ball but TV pictures showed it was clearly over the line, 0-3. Salva’s effort was better executed than the so-called “stunner” scored by Man. Utd’s Bruno Fernandes on Sunday ! Mallorca were now pulling all the strings but they did concede just before half time. Rayo’s best attacker in the first half was their left back, the Peruvian Luis Advincula. My missus, who knows precious little about football, watched some of the game on the laptop. She asked me why the Rayo number 17 (Advincula) was wearing a strip of sticking plaster on the bridge of his nose. “Was it” (and I quote) “to stop him from snoring ?!” These strips are used to allegedly help players breathing and they obviously worked for the Rayo defender as his 25-yard missile beat Manolo Reina all ends up, 1-3. Reina is having probably his best season in a long career but over the past two games he’s been sloppy. On Saturday the ball did take an awkward bounce just in front of him but a few weeks ago he would have saved it. His form has dropped slightly.
The second half was poor after a breathless first period. Rayo pushed Mallorca all the way and it was anything but straightforward for the Palma side. We got away with a penalty shout when Brian Olivan caught Rayo’s Isi full in the face with an “accidental” slap. Later in the game the camera homed in on Isi’s face and he looked to be heading for a black eye.
As the clock ran down, Rayo had more of the ball but our defence were back to their impervious best – repelling all boarders !
We have another tough match against Girona on Saturday at 20:30 in Son Moix. They lie in 8th on 33 points and did us a huge favour by beating Espanyol 1-0. Girona’s goalkeeper Juan Carlos made countless top saves to keep his side in the game.
AND FINALLY, Female Medical Examination : During the medical examination of a female patient, her doctor says “Your heart, lungs, pulse and blood pressure are all fine. Now let me see the part that gets you ladies into all kinds of trouble.” The lady starts taking off her undies, but is quickly interrupted by the doctor. “No, no, please stop – just stick your tongue out !”