RCD Mallorca notched up its first win of the season in dramatic style in Sunday’s match against CE Sabadell.
Dani Rodriguez struck with less than six minutes left on the clock to secure a 1-0 victory over a resilient visiting defence at the Visit Mallorca Estadi
Manager Luis Garcia Plaza made a single change to the side which was held to a goalless draw at RCD Espanyol a week earlier, handing Jordi Mboula his full debut in place of Aleix Febas. Named among a substitutes bench featuring Luka Romero, Antonio Sánchez and Franc Russo was new loan signing Murilo for the first time. In the starting 11 for the visitors was former defender Pierre Cornud at full back.
The manager’s desire for greater penetration in the final third during his pre-match press conference yielded a front three which looked dangerous throughout the opening exchanges, with Mboula coming close to a dream full debut after just eight minutes when he broke into the box and struck over the bar.
RCD Mallorca’s encouraging start was almost undone close to the half-hour mark when opposition pressure led to Gorka Guruzeta getting hold of Antonio Raíllo’s failed clearance and firing the wrong side of the post.
Dani Rodriguez almost broke the deadlock moments later with a header at goal from inside the box, although it proved to be nothing more than a straightforward save for Los Arlequinats goalkeeper, Ian Mackay.
The team got plenty of joy out of the flanks up until the half-time whistle, and while stretching play resulted in an Abdon Prats header and acrobatic effort from Dani Rodriguez late on, they headed into the break with the scoreline level despite a dominance of possession.
Hitting the ground running upon the restart, and with Murilo introduced for the first time, Lago Junior and Brian Oliván showcased their growing chemistry as the former teed up the latter just outside the box for a rasping effort which flew off target four minutes into the second half.
From one full back to another, Joan Sastre was denied by two fine reflex saves by Mackay having ghosted into the box and managing to test the opposition goalkeeper before repeating the move at a set-piece and having his chance deflected.
Increasing the pressure on the visitors’ defence with overloads in dangerous areas, Garcia looked to change the dynamic in the final third, as both Alex Alegría and then Stoichkov were called upon to make a difference with 15 minutes remaining.
While time was against Mallorca, the game swung in the side’s favour when CE Sabadell were reduced to 10 men as Pierre Cornud received his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute.
Then the hard work and persistence paid off as Dani Rodríguez fired home from the edge of the box to score the team’s first goal of the season in fine style. A promising passage of play ended with Stoichkov finding the midfielder with space to beat the outstretched Mackay with a fine effort.
“Today the players have to be congratulated. They deserve this joy and we will keep progressing”, the RCD manager commented after the match.
“We needed all three points after last week’s game. We must continue the dynamics of not conceding”, he added.
“The team has persevered. On a mental level we have taken a step forward.
“The team is becoming a team again. Today we had control of the game. We need to continue working to be more dangerous.”
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