Play Off Optimism
Real Mallorca qualified for the play offs to the promised land of La Liga following a one all draw at home to Granada on Tuesday the 4th of June in their penultimate game in the regular season. They will face Albacete at home this Thursday the 13th of June at 9pm and the second leg away on Sunday the 16th at 7pm. Tickets are on sale and can be obtained online via the club website www.rcdmallorca.es .
The game against Granada was scheduled to take place on the 2nd of June but all the Spanish second division games were postponed for two days after the untimely death of legendary footballer Jose Antonio Reyes the day before.
On the night, attendance was the biggest at the Son Moix Stadium this season. There were a number of permutations available and eventually, taking into account other results, the draw meant that Mallorca were guaranteed a play off spot and Granada achieved automatic promotion so everyone in the ground had something to celebrate.
Nerves were in evidence in the early stages but on 28 minutes the home side’s Serbian striker Ante Budimir was brought crashing down in the area by Granada’s keeper Rui Silva. Monescillo, the referee, unbelievably waved play on to the astonishment of even the visiting players. The referee continually made errors and was given a roasting by the home fans at half time.
Salva Sevilla, the veteran silver fox in Mallorca’s midfield took control of the game after the break. He was breaking up play, unleashing accurate long range passes and urging his younger colleagues onwards. Fittingly a superb passing move on 69 minutes ended with Sevilla tucking home the chance. The crowd erupted although to be fair to Granada their heads didn’t drop and they equalised with 2 minutes on the clock.
The final league game was played at Extremadura on Sunday the 9th of June and head coach Vicente Moreno took the opportunity to leave a number of players in Palma including Sevilla, Lago Junior and keeper Manolo Reina to keep them fresh for the play offs. Young goalkeeper Miquel Parera made a number of fine saves to ensure Mallorca came home with a nil-nil draw. Fringe players Russo, Ruiz, Valcarce and Buenacasa all started the game with the latter having an excellent game after an injury hit season.
All thoughts are now focused on the play offs. Albacete have been around the top of the league all season but suffered a dip in form at the latter stages. Malaga will face Deportivo la Coruna in the other semi final. Both have illustrious histories in La Liga and obviously at least one, if not both, will start next season in the second division.
The final of the play offs is a two legged affair and the games are scheduled for the 20th and 23rdJune.
Moreno will not be considering the final and drumming the old adage of taking one game at a time. Hopes are high among the fans. Vamos Mallorca!!