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07-09-2018

Real Mallorca turned on the second half style in front of 9,000 ecstatic fans when they beat Cadiz 1-0 on a sticky Friday night. A last-minute goal from substitute Alex Lopez (his first since 21 January against Atletico Baleares) saw Mallorca crown a magnificent second half.

The first 45 minutes were a pretty lacklustre affair with Cadiz just shading proceedings on their corner count. Mallorca came closest to opening the scoring in the 25th minute. Great work by our Asturian striker Carlos Castro saw Abdon Prats fire over when more or less standing on the Cadiz goal line. That miss was a sign of things to come as Mallorca knocked on the Cadiz door then started banging on it as they totally dominated the second half. Four or five efforts went begging through a combination of bad finishing, bad luck, good defending and a fantastic goalkeeping display from 39-year-old ex-Mallorca third choice keeper Alberto Cifuentes, who looked unbeatable until near the end.

We started the game with Dani Rodriguez playing midfield/right wing but no matter how he tried, he didn’t look comfortable in that role. A substitution had to be made and in the 62nd minute came the game-changer. Rodriguez went off and Aridai Cabrera came on. Suddenly things began to happen as Mallorca took the game by the scruff of the neck. Our two full backs, Fram Gamez and Salva Ruiz, played blinders and Sastre will find getting his place back after injury won’t be easy. Ruiz made a lung-busting run from one end of the pitch to the other with the ball at his feet, which brought the crowd to its feet in appreciation. In the 71st minute Stoichkov (real name Juan Diego Molina) came on for the tiring Castro. This was Stoichkov’s first appearance at the Son Moix and he made an immediate impression going past players with ease.

Time was running out as Prats came off and Alex Lopez (I promise never to say a bad word ever against him again) came on. With one minute of normal time left, Stoichkov was on the receiving end of a clumsy tackle near the goal line. The magistral Salva Sevilla whipped over the corner and in a sea of bodies the ball fell to Lopez and his knee-high shot fired in low sneaked past a despairing Cifuentes. The Son Moix erupted, even though one third of the crowd incredibly had bogged off before the end; unbelievable in such a high octane encounter.

In the second half the crowd witnessed probably the best Mallorca team and display for a number of years, and that includes the coach. We could and should have won by four or five goals. Real Mallorca have now won three of their first four games and went joint top on Friday night. If somebody had told me that a month ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. Other sides in our league will now sit up and take notice that Real Mallorca 2018/19 look to be a force to be reckoned with.

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