Hajduk Split 1 - Mallorca 0
Mallorca:Leo Franco; Olaizola, Fernando Niño, Nadal, Fatih (Riera 78'); Novo, Engonga (Carlos 60'), Marcos, Ibagaza; Eto'o, Luque. 4-4-2.
The ghost of Molde rose once again to haunt Mallorca as they lost by a single goal to Hajduk Split. A couple of years ago in their first appearance in the competition, the Balearic side were knocked out at this stage by the Norwegians, and they hoped that they had done their homework well enough to avoid a similar upset. But in a bad tempered match they failed to get the vital away goal, leaving themselves with an uphill battle for the second leg in a fortnight's time. Bernd Krauss took over from Luis Aragonés for the first time in an official competition and Finidi has moved on to Ipswich, but otherwise Mallorca's side looked similar to the one that ended last season, with new signing Fatih at left back and Eto'o and Luque up front. Having had a good preseason up to now they were hoping to dominate the match, but they were surprised by an efficient Split side who could have taken the lead early on if Leo Franco had not been on his best form.
However the Argentinian keeper could do nothing to stop Bilic's free kick in the twentieth minute which sent the 35,000 crowd wild. Mallorca could have equalised if French referee Alain Sars had not changed his mind having awarded a penalty for a foul on Olaizola, the defender getting himself booked for diving after the linesman intervened, but Leo Franco had to stop another effort from Bilic just before half time which would have put the home side two up. Two minutes after the restart the Croatian side were reduced to ten men when Sars sent off Rendulic, and Mallorca came forward looking for the goal. Nadal brushed the bar with a free kick and Pleitkosa saved well from Novo and Luque, but Split rallied round and closed ranks.
Split were reduced to nine men a couple of minutes from the end when Carevic picked up a second yellow card, but even with Carlos and Riera on the park Mallorca could not score. The game ended with ugly scenes as violent fans went for the Mallorca players, and there were incidents in the tunnel, with Stimac threatening Carlos and apparently punching to the ground a member of Mallorca's training staff. The events were reported to UEFA, and the return leg in San Moix threatens to be a heated affair. Mallorca must keep their heads though, as they need to win by two clear goals if they are to reach the money-spinning league stage this time. One failure can be an accident, a second one would be just plain careless.