Mallorca missed out on a chance to go three points clear of the relegation zone after another lacklustre performance at the Iberostar Stadium. Their winless streak in La Liga stretched to nine games as they drew 1-1 at home to Real Zaragoza in a game which should have seen them emerge victorious.
It will feel very much like 2 points dropped as opposed to a point gained for Joaquín Caparrós’ men, as Zaragoza were reduced to ten men after just 13 minutes following Glenn Loovens’ dismissal. The Dutchman’s careless challenge on Emilio Nsue inside the 18 yard box was adjudged to be worthy of a second yellow – the quickest double yellow in La Liga this century.
However, Mallorca were unable to capitalise from the subsequent penalty as local boy Victor Casadesús saw his effort pushed wide by Zaragoza keeper Roberto.
Almost immediately, 10 man Zaragoza stormed up the park and took an unlikely lead through Portuguese forward Helder Postiga, after a defensive mix-up allowed Postiga to pounce on the loose ball, round the keeper and supply a tidy finish to send give his side something to hold on to.
Mallorca upped the tempo in the second half but still lacked incision in the final third, something which has been typical of their season so far.
Zaragoza defending valiantly throughout, showing something of a defensive master class for a ten man side, without resorting to parking the bus.
Mallorca continued to knock at the door and would have grabbed an equaliser earlier had it not been for some smart goalkeeping from Roberto, who pulled off a number of exceptional saves to keep his side ahead. However, Mallorca finally got their breakthrough after 85 minutes when Victor Casadesús nodded home from a pinpoint Giovanni Dos Santos cross.
Mallorca were unable to build on this in the final few minutes and had to settle for a point – their ninth consecutive game without victory. This is a major issue for manager Joaquín Caparrós and his side. After a fine start to the season which saw them go five games without defeat, Los Bermellones have struggled to regain that form and are now languishing a point clear of Granada CF in 18th place. As each winless week passes, Mallorca find themselves dragged deeper and deeper into a relegation dogfight. For me, their squad is far too talented to justify this league position – they are capable of much more, but they need to find form, and find it fast.
Now 14 games into the season, Mallorca are still without an away win. Their poor form on the road puts more pressure on them to earn their points at home – they must seek to make the Iberostar a fortress, to make it difficult for teams to come there and get a result. At the moment, however, they are quite simply conceding too many and scoring too few.
I should really be a manager with such insight.
Israeli forward Tomer Hemed has been their star man thus far, scoring 7 of their 14 goals. A natural finisher, he may well be Mallorca’s saving grace this season.