Mallorquinista: Four Points Dropped

Real Mallorca’s quest for a play-off place took a nosedive when they played out two draws against Tenerife and Elche. On Sunday 3rd March they were hot favourites to beat mid-table Elche as the islanders were looking to win their fifth consecutive home game. Mallorca had their strongest possible line up on the pitch but it was the visitors who surprisingly started much the stronger of the two sides. On 15 minutes Elche took the lead with a great strike from Ivan Sanchez. The home side huffed and puffed but created no clear cut opportunities. Their opponents adopted a physical approach to protect their lead which saw several yellow cards being brandished. Head coach Vicente Moreno was stony faced as he left the pitch and withdrew Aridai who was having one of his infuriating non appearances. He opted to throw on beanpole striker Alex Lopez instead of the expected like for like option of winger Leo Suarez. The decision proved correct as on 55 minutes Lopez fed in Ante Budimir to equalise. The Croatian has proved to be a valuable addition in the winter transfer window on loan from Italian club Crotone and this was his third goal.  Shortly afterwards Elche striker Qasmi was sent off for a second yellow card that was issued for simulating a foul in the penalty area. He had been on a tightrope after an early booking and subsequently committed several niggly fouls. The stage looked set for a home win but Elche held firm and their total of nine yellow cards received means they will face a fine from the league.

The week previously, Mallorca travelled to Tenerife for the holiday island derby and returned with a point from a 2-2 draw. That was definitely two points lost as they were comfortably winning 2-0 with 70 minutes gone. Early in the first half Lago Junior played in fullback Pervis Estupinan who smashed home the opener. Early in the second half the home keeper completely missed his kick giving Budimir a tap in. A lack of concentration in the 71st minute  by the visitors’ defence gifted Tenerife a way back into the game. Tackles were flying in now and Estupinan was dismissed for a second yellow card. He should have been substituted earlier and for once Moreno missed a trick by leaving him on.  The inevitable happened in the 92nd minute with the ball pinging around Mallorca’s defence and substitute Tyronne equalised.

Mallorca have a chance to make amends with a second consecutive home game against Oviedo this Saturday 9th March. The kick-off is 4pm and a larger than average crowd is expected. There then follows another tricky inter-island derby against Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Sunday 17th March. These two games are pivotal to the team’s chances of making the play-offs.