Crisis-hit Barcelona are next up for the islands

Real Sociedad edged out an unfortunate. Real Mallorca 2-1 on Sunday to re-establish their four-point lead at the top and ensure they will go into the New Year as league leaders. La Real's victory was very much a case of what the Spanish call “the luck of the champions”. A draw would have been a fairer result and Mallorca can feel disappointed to return to Palma without a point. The first half displayed how similar both sides are, in style and content, quick counter-attacks built on solid foundations with no side able to break the deal lock. Darko Kovacevic and the excellent Turkish international Nihat caused problems for the Mallorca defence, while at the other end Samuel Eto'o and Alvaro Novo, with yet another outstanding peformance, kept the home side on their toes. Ten second-half minutes provided all the goals. Mallorca took the lead with a very rare Eto'o header two minutes into the second half. Alejandro Campano, in the starting line-up for the second consecutive week, whipped in a vicious cross that Eto'o did well to head past former Liverpool 'keeper Sander Westerveld. The Cameroon striker then made sure to anyone watching that it was his first headed goal ever for Mallorca by patting himself on the head a dozen or so times. The lead only lasted four minutes though when Newcastle target Javi de Pedro found space on the edge of the Mallorca area. His low driven shot was deflected just enough by defender Federico Lussenhoff to wrong foot Leo Franco and find the back of the goal. Lussenhoff's wild lunge six minutes later allowed another Real Sociedad attack and when Leo Franco failed to hold onto a Nihat shot Miquel Aranburu was there to slot home and take the unbeaten Basques to a ninth victory of the season. It was Mallorca's second consecutive defeat leaving them in seventh place, although just one point off third-placed Real Madrid. Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano felt his side deserved at least a point from the match. “I can't complain at the outcome of the match because that is what happens in football, but if things were fair we would have got a point. “The key to the match was their equalizer because we stopped going forward and settled back for a draw. “They are a very good team and it is no surprise they are top, they have eleven very good players who play very well together and they also have luck on their side.” Mallorca's next match is against crisis-hit Barcelona at 21.30 on Saturday. Club officials are expecting a full house for the match.

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