Brandon Thomas in action for Mallorca during the defeat in Elche.

27-11-2016

Real Mallorca went down 1-0 to Elche on Sunday in a game where they finished with nine men. The first half was terrible, most of the fans in a full Mallorcafé spent more time looking on their mobile devices than at the four TV screens showing the game. The pitch in the Estadio Martinez Valero was in poor condition and resembled a potato patch. Just how the footballing authorities in Spain can allow a televised football match showing a playing surface in such bad condition beggars belief. Sunday's playing area has the biggest dimensions in Spanish football but neither team put that to good effect.

As usual Mallorca coach Fernando Vazquez (who had to view this horror show from high in the stand after being given a two-match suspension) picked a team lacking in height up-front. Brandon huffed and puffed but spent more time falling down and arguing with the referee. Our best chance came in the 27th minute when Lago Junior (who was marked by two defenders for most of the game) broke through and instead of passing to the unmarked Moutinho, opted to go it alone and lost the momentum. Half time came and the verdict on the first 45 minutes could be summed up in one word – purgatory. It was easy to see how these two teams are stuck in mid-table, showing such indifferent form.

After the break proceedings marginally improved, we had our first shot on target from full back Pleguezuelo, but I'm afraid the Arsenal youth team captain had an absolute “mare” of a match. Brandon came close as did Guillermo for Elche but then it all went tits up for Real Mallorca. Centre back Raillo fouled Dorca in the box and was sent off leaving Elche with a penalty kick and Mallorca with ten men. Edu Albacer's attempt from 12 yards rattled off the crossbar, as Mallorca for the umpteenth time this season got out of jail - but not for long. Elche continued to dominate and it was only a question of when they would score their opener. Ten-man Mallorca were under the cosh and in the 62nd minute Elche's Bolivian striker Guillermo Fernandez back-heeled the home side ahead with Mallorca's defence in rehearsal for a Mannequin Challenge.

Minutes later Mallorca almost snatched an equaliser, Lago Junior got to the goal-line, crossed the ball only to see Lekic's bullet header come back off the post. Towards the end Mallorca became ragged and Pleguezuelo saw red after a horrendous lunge on Liberto – the Arsenal youth player's second bookable offence.

This was a desperately disappointing result for Real Mallorca and their fans. We thought there might just be a chink of light with regard to us moving further up the league but on Sunday our hopes were dashed. The islanders failed to fashion any kind of real goal threat until Lekic hit the post near the end. Just why Vazquez doesn't start with the big Serb up-front leaves many fans frustrated. Just after the hour mark things got decidedly worse for Mallorca after Raillo's sending off and although Vazquez tried to shuffle the pack we had no response. If we couldn't score with eleven we certainly couldn't with ten. In the second half Elche were the more dominant side and it was no surprise they went on to pick up all three points.

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