First Division - Day 17

Rayo Vallecano 1 - Mallorca 2

Rayo: Etxeberria; Mario, De Quintana, Mainz, Graff; Helder (Camuñas 80'), Azkoitia; Julio Alvarez, Mora (Peragón 46'), Michel; Bolic (Bolo 74'). 4-2-3-1.
Mallorca: Leo Franco; Campano, Fernando Niño, Lussenhoff (Miguel Soler 63'), Nadal, Poli; Novo, Lozano, Ibagaza (Marcos 86'), Riera (Carlos 75'); Pandiani. 5-4-1.

Team changes: Rayo: Helder, Mora for Onopko, Bolo / Mallorca: Fernando Niño, Novo, for Angel, Robles.

1-0. 57. Bolic. Headed down past keeper from long Julio Alvarez free kick.
1-1. 72. Pandiani. Long header from Ibagaza corner which keeper fumbled in.
1-2. 84. Carlos. Hooked ball into top of net after Ibagaza shot hit post.

Mallorca's bad run of four defeats in a row came to an end after they came from behind with ten men to win 1-2 at Rayo Vallecano. Gregorio Manzano was returning to the ground where he was hailed as a saviour last season, and was well received by fans on a day on which lady president Teresa Rivero celebrated her nine years as in charge by taking the kick off of honour. We advise her not to give up her day job just yet though. Both managers put out a defensive line ups, with Manzano brining in an extra defender Fernando Niño and playing Lussehoff in front of the back four, and Vázquez sacrificing a forward in an attempt to turn around a poor home record this season.

The first half was disappointing though, with the only danger coming from Rayo's dead ball kicks. Leo Franco had to pull out all the stops to save one free kick from Michel, but neither side really looked like scoring and they went in at the break all square. Things changed though ten minutes in to the second half when Poli was sent off for the visitors after picking up a second yellow card, and the home side took the lead when Bolic headed home the resulting free kick. It was Rayo's 500th goal in the first division, but it only inspired the visitors to come back, and a quarter of an hour later they were level when Etxeberría failed to hold on to a long Pandiani header, and ended up fumbling the ball into his own net off the post.

Sensing victory Manzano brought on Carlos, who has had few opportunities this season, and it proved a winning move as the diminutive striker was in the right place after Ibagaza's shot hit the post to hook the ball back over everyone and in to the net. Mallorca stay in seventh place, but close the gap on Betis and Celta to one point. Rayo stay down in the relegation zone, and with only two home wins all season sink further in to trouble.