La Liga: Struggling Mallorca fire “great coach” Caparrós
Balearic team struggles in the relegation zone, while Real Madrid lose again and Barça salvage a point against feisty Valencia.
By Halima Ali
With only one win in 17 league games leaving the team in the drop zone, it is none too surprising that a 3-0 defeat against Real Sociedad at the weekend was the final straw for Mallorca, who dismissed manager Joaquín Caparrós on Monday night.
Unusually, however, the club were quick to praise the departing coach. “I respect Caparrós so much. I know that we have sacked a great coach. I would like to thank Joaquín and his coaching staff for their honour, dedication, desire and for helping the club grow in every sense” said acting president Llorenç Serra Ferrer.
The islanders took to the pitch at the weekend with new names Fernando Tissone and Alan Hutton – brought in during the January transfer window – in the starting 11, while Antonio López returned to the bench, but they failed to provide the inspiration to avoid defeat.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Javi Márquez was given his marching orders following two yellow cards in a matter of minutes. The midfielder was initially booked for a foul on Castro after 26 minutes and just moments later he was shown a red card after a handball.
Still, the breakthrough for the hosts did not come until after the break, when Castro scored with a side-footed shot from six yards out in the 55th minute.
Fifteen minutes later, Sociedad went 2-0 up through Carlos Vela, when he latched on to Rubén Pardo’s assist and Irfan wrapped up the win two minutes from the end, when Agirretxe fed a pass to the substitute for him to score low into the right corner.
Mallorca had made a strong start to their campaign, winning three and drawing two of their opening five matches, but their form then collapsed and the latest result leaves them 19th in the league table, four points adrift of safety.
Caparrós was appointed in October 2011 after the resignation of Michael Laudrup and has had stints in charge at Sevilla, Deportivo La Coruña and Athletic Bilbao. But the club are now reportedly looking at Gregorio Manzano – who has coached Mallorca before – and former Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster, though they insist they will take their time in appointing a successor.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi scored in his 12th consecutive league game to help leaders Barcelona claim a 1-1 draw at Valencia that puts them 12 points clear at the top.
The hosts had looked livelier at the Estadio Mestalla but the Argentine scored from the penalty spot just before half-time, to cancel out Éver Banega’s 33rd-minute strike. Barça improved in the second half but Victor Valdés was forced to make a point-blank save late on from Roberto Soldado to preserve a point.
The Catalans now have 59 points from 22 games, nine ahead of second-placed Atlético Madrid, who beat Real Betis in the late game.
José Mourinho’s Real Madrid stumbled again on Saturday night when they lost 1-0 at Granada, a not altogether surprising result, given that Los Merengues have failed to win in Andalusia all season. Cristiano Ronaldo got on the scoresheet once again, but for the first time in his career, it was for the opposition. His headed goal into his own net in the 21st minute was to be the only strike of the game.
They stay 16 points behind Barça in third and ‘The Special One’ was on the warpath again, pointing out several players who had not played in the mid-week Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona, and who therefore had no excuse to be tired. Mourinho sarcastically commented: “When we win and everyone plays well it’s the result of self-management, but when we lose it’s the responsibility of the coach”.
Real Sociedad 3 – 0 RCD Mallorca
Atlético Madrid 1 – 0 Real Betis
Valencia CF 1 – 1 FC Barcelona
Sevilla FC 2 – 1 Rayo Vallecano
Málaga CF 1 – 1 Real Zaragoza
Granada CF 1 – 0 Real Madrid
RCD Espanyol 3 – 2 Levante UD
Getafe CF 3 – 1 Deportivo La Coruña
Osasuna 1 – 0 Celta de Vigo
Real Valladolid 2 – 2 Athletic Bilbao
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