Manolo Reina (R) back in the eye of the storm

Manolo Reina (R) back in the eye of the storm.

19-10-2021Jason Moore

In a ground where Mallorca haven’t won in 18 years, an incomprehensible mistake in the third minute of added-on time by RCD Mallorca’s 36-year-old goalkeeper/captain Manolo Reina saw Real Sociedad’s substitute striker Lobete hit a speculative shot.

The ball took the faintest of touches off our centre back Franco Russo before going through Reina’s grasp on its way in for a scruffy goal.

Despite the home side being reduced to ten men after defender Aihen saw red on the stroke of half time, Mallorca failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and an Abdon Prats shot near the end which went high and wide was all the Palma side had to show for their efforts all game.

Real Sociedad, unbeaten at home in five games and having the same number of clean sheets, didn’t have it all their own way in the first half.

Mallorca were determined and dogged and they effectively disrupted the flow of possession of the Guipuzcoa attack in which Swedish striker Alexander Isak hardly got a kick.
One commentator on La Liga TV described our first half as a defensive master class.
Roared on by a capacity fanatical crowd of over 40,000, the home side became more and more frustrated as attack after attack broke down and follically challenged referee Gonzalez Fuentes nearly had a full notebook as the tackles came in thick and fast with players falling down all over the place.

At one stage three Mallorca players were pole-axed at the same time.
Galarreta was scythed down in the 47th minute and Aihen was sent off, much to the indignation of the home supporters.

With Sociedad a man down they reverted to a 4-4-1 formation for the second half.
We began to push forward and for long periods looked a serious threat.

In the 54th minute, Angel swivelled before hitting home what looked like a super goal.
However, as replays showed, he controlled the ball with his hand and the effort was chalked off.

We just couldn’t make that extra man advantage count, despite dominating territorially and it was now our turn to try and penetrate a packed defence.

By now coach Luis Garcia Plaza was pushing the panic button.

He brought in Fer Niño up front next to Angel, who in turn, minutes later, was replaced by the moustachioed Abdon Prats.

The game looked to be petering out into a goalless draw which would have meant the home side being stand-alone leaders by just one point over Real and Atletico Madrid.

No-one however was prepared for what was about to happen in the third minute of added-on time.

A half-hit shot lacking much venom beat Reina all ends up – he should have done better and Sociedad out of nothing had scored, 1-0.

SUMMING UP: Alex Fitzpatrick who does the excellent Tornarem RCM Mallorca podcast summed up proceedings perfectly: “A bitter pill to swallow after we’d played so well for 90 minutes.

“Mallorca are missing a consistent goalkeeper – we pressed high up the pitch hunting in packs – we put everything on the line.”

On Saturday night Mallorca were desperately unlucky not to get a share of the spoils and at the end the possession stats were 50/50 – and we won six corners to Sociedad’s two.

Manolo Reina had a game he’ll want to forget and I imagine he was inconsolable at the end.

His mistake caused a defeat we most certainly didn’t deserve.

He’s been a great servant to the club since his arrival in 2017 but after shaky performances against Betis and Real Madrid, I’m not sure he’s up to Primera league standards now.

Several of his clearances on Saturday night were wayward and went out of play and now it surely must be time for Dominik Greif to be given a second chance.

I put my hands up in having a pop at his performance in our 2-3 defeat against Osasuna but the club paid a few million euros for him and it’s time he showed again what he’s capable of.

Once again Mallorca failed to beat a team down to 10 men and we looked desperately short of fire power up front.

There’s no doubt the 40,000 plus crowd in the Anoeta helped the home side over the line but what a cruel way for us to lose a game – welcome to La Liga Santander, RCD Mallorca!
Next up it’s another cauldron of noise in the Mestalla Valencia on Saturday at 2 pm.

El Moviment Mallorquinista are putting on a trip to the game leaving on the morning before kick off by plane and returning by boat over the night of 23/24th.

PS Many congratulations to two avid ex-pat Mallorquinistas, Steve and Anita Baggaley, who have become proud grandparents for the seventh time.
Only another four to go for a football team!

AND FINALLY, I was sitting in the car at dusk watching a kestrel hunt, it was a magnificent sight to behold.

Enola Gay was playing on the radio so I waited until the music was finished then stepped out of the car.

But it was now dark, the bird had gone and I was disappointed that I couldn’t watch more kestrel manoeuvres in the dark!

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