After a week when I asked a friend of mine what he had planned for Easter – he said “Same as Jesus, disappear Friday, turn up Monday !” –
Real Mallorca got back to winning ways (just) on Thursday night when a 25th minute goal by centre half Antonio Raillo (his second headed goal since Malaga last November) from a Salva Sevilla free kick, and a masterful save from 36-year-old birthday boy Manolo Reina in the 90th minute, allowed the Palma side to achieve what can only be described as a therapeutic victory, 1-0 over an unlucky Leganes side.
After three lacklustre performances, this was a game Mallorca just had to win, especially as the visitors were in the promotion mix.
It wasn’t a brilliant performance by any stretch of the imagination as Mallorca’s confidence seemed to have deserted them against a Leganes team who dominated the second half and were unfortunate not to get at least a point.
This win for Mallorca was so important as we enter the last 10 games of the season, especially after top side Espanyol rattled four past 10-man Fuenlabrada (who put four past us last weekend) and Almeria won 0-3 at Malaga.
After the crazy result at Fuenlabrada it was time for a win and Mallorca duly delivered but not without two huge frights.
Ten minutes from time, a wonderful free kick from Leganes’s Juan Muñoz crashed against the bar, then in the 90th minute Javier Eraso’s header was spectacularly saved by Reina (who went from zero to hero) and more than made up for his terrible performance in Fuenlabrada three days before.
Leganes pressed high up the pitch from the start and Mallorca found it difficult to get through to visitors’ goalkeeper Riesgo (Risk in English !).
In the 25th minute Salva Sevilla was fouled just outside the penalty area down the left and his “worldy” free kick saw Raillo rise to nod in, 1-0.
The rest of the first half seemed to be a procession of fouls as Leganes laid siege in our penalty area.
In the second half it was more of the same, all Leganes, and Mallorca had Raillo booked which means he’ll miss Sunday’s game away at Las Palmas.
We had a bit more mobility up front with the introduction of Gimenez and Amath.
He had more impact in the 20 minutes he played than a subdued Abdon Prats did in 71.
Brian Olivan’s name went into the referee’s notebook near the end for time wasting, he too misses the Las Palmas trip.
SUMMING UP : After a disastrous defeat at Fuenlabrada it was time to put that result behind us and a much needed win was the best remedy.
Mallorca hung on for three golden points and in doing so regained their efficiency, character and luck. This result sees Espanyol and Real Mallorca top on 64 points, Espanyol ahead on goal difference.
Almeria stay in third on 60 points and if we finished level with them at the end of the season, we have the advantage of having beaten them home and away. Sporting Gijon lie fourth on 56 and Leganes have 54.
It’s going to be very tight between Espanyol, us and Almeria for the automatic promotion top two places. We appear to lack confidence over the past few games and it’s vital we get it back quickly.
On Sunday we play away at Las Palmas (who beat us 0-1 in the Son Moix on January 10) in what is going to be a very hard game for us.
The Canary Islanders, at home, have beaten all the top teams, and hammered Lugo 6-1 on Thursday night.
The predictions pre-season of one of the tightest La Segunda finishes for many years look a nailed-on certainty and let’s hope Mallorca get something from their trip to Gran Canaria THIS SUNDAY AT 20:30.
Three years ago Mallorca signed a player called Juan Molina, better known as Stoichkov, and he was part of our Segunda B squad.
The following season he went on loan to Alcorcon where he scored 16 goals. At the start of this season he decided, because he couldn’t be guaranteed a regular start under Luis Garcia Plaza, that he again wanted to go out on loan.
This time he finished up at Sabadell who are now in La Segunda’s bottom four.
The other night Stoichkov scored a brace, bringing his tally for the season so far to eight.
I always thought he looked a tasty player and I’m sure he’d have scored a lot of goals for us if he’d stayed, especially as our strikers aren’t exactly bulging the onion bag.
AND FINALLY, an Easter story.
A man is driving along and sees a rabbit jump out into the middle of the road. He swerves to avoid hitting it, but unfortunately the rabbit jumps right in front of the car.
The driver, a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulls over and gets out to see what had become of the rabbit. Much to his dismay, the rabbit is the Easter Bunny and he is DEAD.
The driver feels so awful that he begins to cry. A beautiful blonde woman driving down the road sees the man crying at the kerb side and pulls over.
She steps out of the car and asks him what’s wrong. “I feel terrible,” he explains, “I accidentally hit the Easter Bunny with my car and killed him.” The blonde says “Don’t worry.”
She runs to her car and pulls out a spray can. She walks over to the limp, dead Easter Bunny, bends down and sprays the contents onto him.
The Easter Bunny jumps up, waves its paw at the two of them and hops off down the road. Ten feet away he stops, turns around and waves again.
He hops a further 10 feet, turns and waves, and repeats this again and again until he hops out of sight.
The man is astonished and asks the woman “What is in that can ? What did you spray on the Easter Bunny ?”
She turns the can around so that he can read the label, which says “Hair Spray. Restores life to dead hair, and adds permanent wave.”