The Mallorquinista: Fine & Dani
FINE AND DANI
Real Mallorca entertained their fans with a 3-0 win at home to Lugo on Sunday 17th February. Midfielder Dani Rodriguez displayed his undoubted class with a brace of goals. Head coach Vicente Moreno picked his strongest possible team. Joan Sastre got the nod ahead of Fran Gamez at right back. This was tough on Gamez who was outstanding in the first half of the season but Sastre has recovered from serious injury and is back on merit. Aridai started on the right wing and he performed well until being replaced by new signing Leo Suarez in the second half. Aridai is the type of player who thrives on competition and young Suarez is the effervescent type to do just that. Croatian striker Ante Budimir has established himself as the main striker in the team relegating Alex Lopez to the substitutes bench and Abdon Prats to a watching brief in the stands.
In midfield Salva Sevilla (the silver fox) has been pivotal in the home performances. Opposition teams have cottoned on to this and Lugo opted to put two players to mark him. This reduces his effectiveness but freed up Rodriguez to make his mark. He has been an ever present in Moreno’s plans all seasons without truly justifying that faith. However he made his mark against Lugo and opened the scoring with just eight minutes on the clock. Budimir skipped past defenders and provided a simple tap in for the Galician born midfielder. As is often the case, Mallorca took their foot off the pedal after going in front and the visitors had a couple of half chances but didn’t trouble home keeper Manolo Reina. On 69 minutes Lago Junior waltzed down the left wing and put in a perfect cross that Rodriguez gleefully nodded home. In the last minute he was looking for a hat trick and was brought down in the penalty area. The fans were chanting for him to take the penalty and achieve a hat trick. Lago Junior exercised his seniority and slammed home the spot kick. This victory kept Mallorca in eighth place in the Spanish Second Division, just two points off the play off places. They now have an away game at Tenerife on the 22nd February with consecutive home games to follow against Elche and Ovideo. Some decent results could propel them into the play offs.
Mallorca have to reproduce their home form on their travels and on Sunday 10th February they slipped to a 2–0 defeat at Albacete. To be fair, the home side are riding high in the league and after taking a fifth minute lead the result didn’t seem in doubt. The islanders huffed and puffed but weren’t killed off until the 95th minute when they conceded a penalty. Moreno often chops and changes his side for away games and maybe he should stick to the same eleven who perform admirably at home.