First Division - Day 12

Mallorca 2 - Villarreal 1

Mallorca: Leo Franco; Olaizola, Fernando Niño, Nadal, Carreras; Engonga (Novo 57'), Marcos; Finidi (Armando 69'), Ibagaza, Stankovic (Eto'o 50'), Luque. 4-2-3-1.
Villarreal: López Vallejo, Galván, Quique Álvarez, Unai, Arruabarrena; Jorge López (Craioveanu 75'), Gracia, Cagna, Gaitán (Calleja 52'); Víctor, Bruno Marioni (Berruet 44'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Mallorca: Carreras, Stankovic for Miguel Soler, Eto'o / Villarreal: Gracia, Gaitán for Amor, Calleja.

0-1. 09. Marioni. At the third try after defence blocked shots by Víctor and Gaitán.
1-1. 56. Marcos. Glancing near post header from Luque's corner on right.
2-1. 63. Novo. Ran through on to long pass by Ibagaza and beat keeper.

Mallorca came back from a goal down to defeat Villarreal and move up to fourth in the table in the only match brought forward to Saturday night. Luis Aragonés was finally forced to change a side who have been together unchanged for six games, with Carreras replacing the injured Miguel Soler and Eto'o left on the bench for disciplinary reasons after he was thrown out of a training session and fined for not trying. Eto'o was one of the three non-EU players in the side together with Ibagaza and Finidi, and his departure left room for the return of Stankovic in a more defensive 4-2-3-1 line up. In the Villarreal changing room, Gracia replaced the suspended Amor and Gaitán was given a rare outing on the left of midfield.

Villarreal surprised Mallorca right from the start, with Víctor bringing a save out of Leo Franco in the first minute. Marioni was injured in a tackle after five minutes and on came the electric cart to carry him off. But to everyone's embarrassment the cart stalled, and the first aid staff were forced to push it off the field of play. Marioni walked off himself and came back on almost immediately to score the first goal from short range at the third bite of the cherry after Víctor and Gaitán had both had cracks at goal. Mallorca came out, and López Vallejo saved twice from Luque who, without his striking partner, was fighting a lone battle up front. Quique Alvarez saved the day with a header off the line, but the hero turned villain a few minutes later when referee Daudén Ibáñez showed him a second yellow card for a scything tackle on Engonga. Víctor Muñoz was forced to pull back, taking off his goalscorer and bringing on a fourth defender Berruet in a effort to defend the result.

Aragonés repented and brought on Eto'o for Stankovic early in the second half, and within a couple of minutes the Camerooni striker shot over the bar from a good position. Then Mallorca equalised through Marcos, who glanced a header past the Villarreal keeper on the near post. On came Novo for a limping Engonga, and he added a second minutes later after a defence splitting through ball from Ibagaza. Then with a few minutes left Villarreal's substitute Craioveanu ghosted past Olaizola and fell in the penalty area. To the home team's dismay Daudén immediately pointed to the penalty spot and gave a yellow card to the Mallorca defender, but after consulting with his linesman he reversed his decision after he confirmed that Olaizola had not touched the Romanian forward. Craioveanu was booked, and Galván raced up to the line judge to tell him what he thought of him. Unfortunately the linesman immediately called over the referee, and Villarreal were down to nine.

And in the words of an unnamed commentator, a couple of minutes later the referee checked his whistle and blew his watch. Quite fitting really, after the display he had given once again. Mallorca were back to winning ways after their slip up at Las Palmas last week, and Villarreal drop down to the second half of the table. Incidentally the appeals committee reduced Galván's crime to a yellow card after he apologised to the official after the game.