First Division - Day 36

Mallorca 4 - Rayo Vallecano 0

Mallorca: Miki; Olaizola, Fernando Niño, Nadal, Miguel Soler; Engonga (Armando 68'), Francisco Soler; Novo, Finidi (Biagini 50'), Carreras (Riera 60'); Eto'o. 4-2-3-1.
Rayo: Keller; Alcázar, Quevedo, Patxi Ferreira, Mingo; Glaucio (Clotet 46'), Poschner (Dani Bouzas 82'), Iván Iglesias, Setvalls (Luis Cembranos 46'); Michel; Bolo. 4-4-1-1.

Team changes: Mallorca: Fernando Niño, Engonga, Novo, Carreras for Siviero, Marcos, Ibagaza, Luque / Rayo: Patxi Ferreira, Glaucio, Poschner, Iván Iglesias, Setvalls for De Quintana, Ballesteros, Mauro, Helder, Luis Cembranos.

1-0. 02. Eto'o. Tap-in from close up after Novo centred from right.
2-0. 35. Finidi. Ran on to through ball from Eto'o to beat Keller.
3-0. 37. Eto'o. Low shot after Carreras square pass from right
4-0. 88. Riera. Shot in off defender from edge of area after Eto'o shot blocked.

Mallorca secured themselves a Champions League place for next season with a convincing win against struggling Rayo Vallecano. Barcelona's surprise defeat at home to Oviedo means that the Catalan side can only draw level on points with the Islanders, and with Mallorca having the better particular goal aggregate they are sure to finish higher than them. Both sides were forced to make several changes, with no less than seven players between the two sides sitting out a one match suspension. Niño returned for Mallorca after his one match ban and with none of the other first choice keepers recovered, Miki kept his place in goal. Rayo were forced to cobble together a makeshift defence, with Quevedo dropping back and Patxi Ferreira making a rare appearance.

The match was one of the most one-sided seen this season, with Rayo totally void of ideas as Mallorca did what they liked. With only a minute and a half gone Novo left Mingo for dead down the right and squared across for Eto'o to side foot the ball in to the empty net. In the next thirty minutes Mallorca should have scored two or three more, with Carreras bringing a good save out of Keller and shooting wide twice, And Eto'o missing any easy chance. Then the Camerooni striker combined with Nigeria's Finidi for him to beat the keeper with a low shot, and three minutes later Eto'o got his second of the night after Carreras unselfishly set him up.

After Eto'o missed another sitter in front of goal just before the break, Juande Ramos decided he had to change things, and he brought on a third central defender Clotet to replace Glaucio, who was the only player to have even approached Miki's goal in the first half. That at least calmed things down, and although Rayo didn't cause any work for the young keeper, they kept out the Mallorca attack right up to the last minute, when young substitute midfielder Riera got his first goal for his club with a shot which took a deflection off Clotet. Mallorca fans celebrated, and with Deportivo losing, they are now only two points behind them in the chase for second place. Rayo are however in deep trouble having the worst record of anyone in the second half of the season, and they are down in seventeenth place. There is still a four point gap to the bottom three, but they need a point or two in their last games to be sure of staying up. The next game at home to Numancia promises to be a heart-stopper.