We closed the gap on top of the table to just two points with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Girona FC which saw our unbeaten run roll onto 11 games.
Luis García Plaza made three changes to the side which overcame SD Ponferradina at the Visit Mallorca Estadi on Matchday 11 as we lined up in last year’s third kit strip due to a kit clash with the hosts. Martin Valjent, Marc Cardona and Jordi Mboula were replaced with Franco Russo, Brian Oliván and Amath Ndiaye in the starting XI.
We couldn’t have wished for a better start at the Estadi Montilivi as Salva Sevilla crowned a free-flowing team move which involved 10 passes from end-to-end by guiding Ndiaye’s later pull back into the bottom corner after just five minutes.
Girona FC thought they had hit back 10 minutes later through Pablo Moreno’s follow up to a good save from Manolo Reina, but a lengthy VAR review revealed Joan Sastre had been fouled in the build-up to the goal.
With our lead still intact, the hosts looked to build on their earlier momentum by getting forward, but a defensive shape which had conceded just twice as of Matchday 12 remained resolute.
Weathering the brief storm, we settled into our rhythm of play as chances became few and far between for the remainder of the first half and headed into the break with a slender lead.
The restart followed picked up where the previous 45 minutes had left off with Reina making a routine stop to deny Jordi Calavera from distance proving to be the only noteworthy period of play from the second-half’s opening exchanges.
The goalkeeper would later have to be at his best to deny Mamadou Sylla at his near post after the forward raced into the box and managed to get a driven shot away in the 68th minute.
Garcia’s introductions of Marc Cardona and Aleix Febas provided breathed new life into the side as we looked to see out our lead and hit the hosts on the counter-attack, and the pair’s combination resulted in the latter breaking through on goal and forcing Juan Carlos into a smart reflex save.
The game swung further in our favour with four minutes left on the clock as Jonás Ramalho received a straight red card for an off the ball incident with Cardona, but despite the numerical advantage, it didn’t stop Los Blanquivermells searching for a late equaliser as Reina once again frustrated Sylla by palming away the forward’s placed effort.
We held onto our advantage to record what could be an important three points come the end of the season and will now turn our attention to hosting Sporting Gijón in a week’s time.
RCD Mallorca: Manolo Reina, Sastre, A. Raíllo, Russo, B. Oliván, I. Ruiz De Galarreta (89’), Salva Sevilla, Antonio Sánchez, Dani Rodríguez, Cufré (73’), Amath (65’)
Substitutes: Miquel Parera, Leo, Febas (73’), Álex Alegría, Abdón, Murilo, F. Gámez, Mboula, Sedlar (89’), Marc Cardona (65’), F. González, Luka Romero
Girona FC: Juan Carlos, Ramalho, Cristóforo (68’), Samu Sainz, Aday Benítez (54’), J. Calavera, M. Sylla, P. Moreno (68’), A. Luna, S. Bueno, Gumbau
Substitutes: J. Suárez, Franquesa, Monchu (68’), Yan Couto (54’), R. Terrats, Monjonell, Pau Víctor (68’), Suleiman
Goals: Salva Sevilla, 0-1 (5’)