Mallorquinista: Top Six!
Real Mallorca moved into the play-off places in the Spanish Second Division with an excellent win over Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on the 17th March. The scoreline was 1 – 2 which actually flattered the hosts who took the lead after only six minutes following a slip by Joan Sastre in the penalty area. This didn’t deter the visitors who set about the Canaries team with a purpose and Croatian striker Budimir equalised on 17 minutes. Budimir, or Budi as he is known, stroked home the goal following great team play between Lago Junior and Pervis Estupinan the Ecuadorian left back currently on loan from Watford. Estupinan is growing in confidence week-by-week and it will be difficult for Mallorca to secure his services again next season with Real Betis eyeing him. Television replays showed the goal to be marginally offside but these things tend to even themselves out over the course of the season.
Las Palmas had not been beaten at home all season and they did have a couple of chances but keeper Manolo Reina was equal to their efforts. After the interval Gran Canarian born Aridai came on as a substitute in place of Leo Suarez who had a quiet game. Aridai clearly had a point to prove and ran the home defence ragged.
Salva Sevilla was back to his best form and his free kick was headed in by Raillo for the winning goal with fifteen minutes left on the clock. This was a thoroughly deserved victory and with eleven games left in the season prospects are looking rosy. Head coach Vicente Moreno was very pragmatic saying that he was satisfied that the club were safe from relegation! The only cloud on the horizon is that clubs in La Liga are monitoring Moreno especially Villareal. There were reports on a sports channel on the mainland that they were close to agreeing a deal but Moreno would not be drawn on the situation in his post match press conference.
The previous week Mallorca overcame Oviedo in the Son Moix Stadium in Palma with a 1-0 win to leapfrog their visitors in the league. Oviedo came with a strict game plan to not concede a goal and smother the islanders. They didn’t register a single shot on goal. The match was settled half way through the second half with a training ground corner by Sevilla being smashed home by Estupiñán. The most memorable performance came from Budimir again. He was a constant threat both on the ground and in the air. He has rapidly become a fan’s favourite and although he is on loan, there are hopes that he can become a permanent fixture next season. Javier Reccio is the Director of Football at the club and he signed a new two year contract recently. He will be moving heaven on earth to tie Budi to a deal.
Mallorca are at home to Zaragoza on Monday 25th March with a 9pm kick off. They will be aiming to consolidate their position in the top six with dreams of promotion very much at the forefront.