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Match Report: Rayo Vallecano 0-1 RCD Mallorca

Tuesday 24th January 2012
Real Mallorca grabbed a vital victory against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday in Vallecas, winning quite fortuitously 1-0 after an Ivan Ramis header gave them all three points at the Estadio Teresa Rivero to move them level on points with Rayo, and up two places in La Liga to 14th on week 19.

The game was always going to be tight, given the nature of both sides' respective seasons so far, but both sides were desperate for a victory, but also desperate to avoid defeat. With only 4 points seperating Granada in 18th place and Real Betis in 12th, every team in between those positions were looking over their shoulder at the dreaded drop zone. Both Mallorca and Vallecano fell into this category of teams, so as you can imagine, the pressure was on, and it showed in the game itself. Mallorca had an added disadvantage as they had to play the Rayo game without Manager Joan Caparros, who had to watch the game from the stands after seeing his appeal against a two game touchline ban for his antics agaInst Real Madrid turned down. Caparros also sprung a selection suprise to the disappointment of forner West Brom defender Gianni Zuiverloon, with the Dutchman not selected for the game despite Pau Cendros missing the game through suspension, thus calling Zuiverloon's future with Los Bermellones into question. Also joining the defender on the absentee list was a man who had been so prominent in the last outing against Madrid, Isreali striker Tomar Hemed, with Caparros instead opting to give Marvin Ogunjimi his first league start of the campaign, partnering Victor Casadesus in attack.

The visitors started the game brightly, controlling possesion for the majority of the first half. Though both teams had a few half chances, neither really looked like taking the lead, and Mallorca really needed to capitalise on this good spell, particularly as they were the away team. This was proven evidence when Vallecano began to come back into the game, ending the half the much stronger side. Finally a clear cut chance in the game, though for Rayo, when a poor back pass from French midfielder Michel Pereira could only find a Red and White shirt, Los Vallecanos broke, resulting in a great shot from Tashorras that brought out an equally great save from Dudu Aouate. Minutes later Michu was in, the in form Rayo man beating eventual match winner Ramis to a header that went harmlessly wide after Chico was beaten down the left hand side, the Mallorca defender was obviously struggling. Michu was becoming more and more of a threat to the Islanders' defence, as yet again he won a header, but it was again the same outcome, and didn't trouble Aouate's goal.

Mallorca needed half time, and with no Caparros there to give a much needed pep talk, that responsibility was down to Assistant Coach Luci Martin. The players needed to regroup if they were going to get anything from the game, as Rayo were growing in confidence. No immediate changes were made to the line up, as they were sent back out in order to win the game, although just 8 minutes into the second half, Tomas Pina replaced Pep Marti. Despite Pina not having a hand in the goal, the substitution gave Real a new lease of life, as just monents later it was 1-0. Chori Castro whipped in the free kick for an unmarked Ramis to head his team into the lead. The only real threat from Rayo after the goal came in the shape of a penalty appeal, as former Espanyol forward Raul Tamudo beared down on goal, Ramis' central defensive partner Jose Nunes tracked him, when Tamudo went down searching for a penalty, the referee said no. This decision seemed to give the impetus to Mallorca to drive the win home, which they were able to do, giving them the 3 points.

So, as Real head into week 20, where they face a Catalan trip to face Espanyol at the Estadi Conelia El Prat, they will feel they can get something. Though it will be a tough game, The Islanders now have a 3 point gap and a supior goal difference over 18th placed Granada, and now their focus must turn to the Copa Del Rey quarter final second leg against Athletic Bilbao, at the San Moix, having to tuen over a 2-0 deficit from the game at the San Marmes.
Harry De Cosemo
19 years old, Newcastle season ticket holder. European football enthusiast and aspiring football writer. Currently doing a Journalism degree at Teesside University. You can follow me on Twitter: @harrydecosemo

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