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Match Report: FC Cartagena 1-2 RCD Mallorca

Dani Rodríguez and Lago Junior's penalties ensure our unbeaten run rolls onto 13 games in Murcia

Dani Rodríguez and Lago Junior were both on target from the spot as we overcame FC Cartagena 2-0 to end the night as league leaders and extend our unbeaten run to 13 games.

Luis García Plaza made five changes to the side which was held to a goalless draw against Sporting Gijón. Brian Oliván, Aleix Febas, Lago Junior, Murilo, Alex Alegria were preferred to Briain Cufré, Salva Sevilla, Antonio Sánchez, Jordi Mboula and Amath Ndiaye respectively, while Iddrisu Baba made his return from injury in place of Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta.

A cagey opening meant we had to wait until the 14th minute for our first sight at goal, and following a phase of slick interplay between our forward line, the returning Murlilo was inches away from steering a floated cross goalwards.

Manolo Reina was called into action for the first time on the stroke of the half-hour mark, racing out to close the angle, force the advancing David Simón into making an early decision and tipping away from danger.

Having been unable to turn possession into goalscoring chances for a majority of the fixture, Alegría’s predatory instincts saw him react first to a loose ball from a corner although he was unable to get a difficult volley on target.

A brief phase of end-to-end football saw Joan Sastre and his opposite defensive number Alberto de la Bella unleash wild efforts which both flew high and wide as we headed into the break with the killer touch alluding us.

The hosts’ defence shape continued to frustrate us after the restart as the closest we would come to breaking the deadlock was through Febas forcing Marcin Bułka into a routine save.

Just as it was starting to look like it wasn’t going to be our night in front of goal, we were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute as Pablo Clavería was adjudged to have handled in the area after a VAR review. Dani Rodríguez never looked in doubt from the spot as he stepped up to send Bulka the wrong way.  

The closing stages swung further in our favour when we were awarded our second penalty of the night as Carlos David received his marching orders for a trip on substitute Jordi Mboula in the 78th minute. Lago Junior opened his account for the 2020/21 season with an expertly dispatched penalty to double our lead.

A spectacular Elady strike with less than a minute left on the clock of regular time would set up a tense finale, although we resisted FC Cartagen’s desperate search of an equaliser to ensure we boarded our plan back to Palma with all three points.

Celebrations will have to be short lived however, as we enter a hectic late November fixture schedule with the hosting of Logroñés in four days’ time.

RCD Mallorca: Manolo Reina, Sastre, A. Raíllo, Valjent, B. Oliván, Baba (60’), Febas, Dani Rodríguez (82’), Lago Junior (82’), Murilo (70’), Álex Alegría (82’)

Substitutes: Miquel Parera, Russo, Ruiz de Galarreta (60’), Salva Sevilla, Abdón, Gámez, Mboula (70’), Antonio Sánchez (82’), Cufré, Sedlar (82’), Amath (82’), Luka

FC Cartagena: Bulka, Rubén Castro (85’), Elady, Cayarga (54’), David Simón, Jose Angel (54’), Carrasquilla (85’), Carlos David, Nacho Gil (73’), De La Bella, Rhyner

Substitutes: Marc Martínez, Fornies, Álex Martín (85’), Aguza (85’), Moreno, Alex Gallar (54’), Harper (73’), William, Lozano, Claveria (54’), Delmas, Uri

Goals: Dani Rodríguez, 1-0 (69’); Lago Junior, 2-0 (80’); Elady, 2-1 (90’)