Real Mallorca 2-1 Rayo Vallecano
Real Mallorca came into this match knowing that victory was probably essential for their survival hopes. The manner in which they managed it can’t have been good for the nerves of their fans, but the bedlam at the end was probably worth it.
Mallorca are managed by a wily Mexican and came out with a Latin passion, to their open air stadium, that was filled up and boiling like a cauldron. That brought dividends early doors when target man Vedat Muriqi powered his header on target, opening the scoring.
They then retreated to a degree and allowed Rayo Vallecano to demonstrate their quality on the ball for much of the first half. Ivan Balliu flashed an effort wide, but Rayo lacked punch in the final third.
Into the second half and that trend continued, only it appeared there had been a miscalculation on Mallorca’s part. They were unable to shut down the spaces and Manolo Reina was forced to save from close range via a corner, before another one was glanced at the near post by Pathe Ciss. It found the net and sucked the air out of Son Moix.
Now Mallorca were forced to reset and come forward, only it meant conceding more space to Rayo. Reina was forced to rush out in order to prevent Falcao from putting Mallorca on the ropes.
Into the final 15 minutes though, once again Mallorca cranked up the pressure. Dani Rodriguez struck a bouncing ball far over the bar and nearly ripped his shirt in frustration. Pablo Maffeo and Kang-In Lee also came close, the latter clipping the post with a free kick.
The atmosphere was thick with tension and noise by this point and it seemed as if Mallorca might not find a way through it. Somehow the ball did make its way to the back post though and Abdon Prats. Neither his control nor his finish were clean, but the ball spun into the corner of the net and his celebration was nothing but pure.
The victory keeps Mallorca well and truly in the fight, out of the relegation zone on head-to-head with Cadiz. Rayo Vallecano can return home relieved that they don’t have to deal with such stress.