Result: U.D. Arenal 0-5 R.C.D. Mallorca ‘B’. (Ciutat Llucmajor)
Venue: Municipal S’Arenal (Saturday 15th August 2015, 8pm)
Att: 110 (approx.)
A second foray into the Spanish leagues saw me heading over to the Balearics and, more specifically, the island of Majorca. Of course, this wasn’t just one of those spur of the moment decisions, I stress, because I’m not quite mad enough to do that. No, it was a distinct part of a family holiday to the island and, as we well know, if football is to be had, then the opportunity must be taken!
Having been spurned on Wednesday, ending up at the wrong ground and being fed false info due to the language barrier, the only game I was to be headed for was a Saturday evening fixture, played at such a time as to negate the heat. As it turned out, this wasn’t to be required really, as regular rainstorms and overcast conditions made the game more English than Spanish. Alas, 8pm was the start time and after a short trip into the town of Arenal on a touristic road train, my parents and I disembarked, headed for a couple of watering holes prior to heading to the Municipal S’Arenal, home of today’s hosts U.D. Arenal.
After a short uphill walk, a turn out of the town takes you towards a roundabout where the ground sits on the right of you. After entering the ground, it was to the clubhouse building, which sits in the left corner of the ground, and also features an outside seating area and a conservatory. Inside, as well as the bar, there is a full match schedule for all teams and a number of trophies on display, that the club have attained through their history.
The Municipal S’Arenal ground itself is a rather basic one. It has a smart stand, a covered terrace, which was unfortunately shut off for today’s game. The rest of the ground, surrounding the 4G surface is open hard standing, though there is an anomaly in the far corner behind the goal, where the outside area falls away sharply from pitch level, and you’d have to be a giraffe to see from there. It’s a strange one and one that I’ve not seen replicated anywhere else of yet, as far as I can remember.
The car park is situated behind the far goal, where the cars are protected by netting and the near side touchline is where the clubhouse is joined by dressing rooms and other areas, including what I think is a small house. There is also a non-league dog’s house, which is another first for me! Anyway, with ground described in outstanding detail, it’s time to have a look into the history of my second visited Spanish club, U.D. Arenal….
Unio Deportiva Arenal was founded in 1970, and have competed within only two divisions in that time, yo-yo-ing between the Preferente and Tercera Divisions, the fifth and fourth levels of Spanish football, respectively. From 1970-’88 they competed in the Primera Regional Preferente, before being promoted into the Tercera 3a. Here they remained until 1996, when they were relegated back to the Preferente for just one season, before retuning immediately. They spent the remainder of the 1990’s in the Tercera league, before being relegated again for 2000/’01.
A third place finish that season saw Arenal promoted immediately once again, and a further five season stay in the Tercera was ended in 2006, but just a two season stay in the Preferente followed, before another 3rd place saw them promoted again. Arenal’s competitiveness seemed to go off at this point, with a further three season stay in the Tercera finishing in 2011, and have been mid-table during their latest Preferente stint.
So, onto the night’s action, and Real Mallorca’s ‘B’ team were providing the opposition in the Ciutat Llucmajor, a glorified friendly by all accounts, but with a small title at stake. Anyway, it was one-way traffic for the vast majority of the 90 minutes as the young Mallorca side dominated their hosts. Despite this, Arenal battled gamely and defended extremely well throughout the first 45, with Mallorca ‘B’ only really threatening the hosts goal from long range.
The Arenal ‘keeper was forced into a decent save after around 25 minutes, as a shot was rifled in from outside the area, before on the stroke of half time, the Mallorca left-back struck a fierce drive from 30-yards that rattled the top of the crossbar. He was mighty unlucky. The big Mallorca #9 was particularly impressive, with his size being match by his pace and he looks like he may just have something in front of him. Regardless, 0-0 at half-time.
At the break, there was canned beer and soft drinks surrounding the field, and before too long, the players had returned to the field. With Mallorca now attacking the end at which we were nearest too, it seemed likely we’d have much more of the action at close quarters now. And that certainly proved to be the case, as the Mallorca #11 slotted home the opener after around a minute of the second period.
The number 11 then added his second, courtesy of a lovely curled finish past the helpless home GK, who’d pulled off a couple of tremendous stops in between the goals, one from point blank range, but a third looked soon to follow, when a penalty was awarded for a trip on a Mallorca player. But, the taker contrived to miss the target, despite sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
But, three wasn’t to be far away, when a carbon copy of the first goal was added to the total by Maradona #10, and four followed almost immediately after a set-piece delivery by Pele #10 (there was two number 10’s by this point) was converted in the middle by the tall forward wearing #9. Not the one mentioned prior, mind you. Is this confusing yet?
Anyway, the diminutive #10, Pele, was out of this world, he looks a different level, and must be pushing for the first team this season, surely. He looks, on this evidence anyway, to be well and truly good enough for the Spanish second and probably the La Liga too. But, he wasn’t to get his name on the scoresheet, though, as #7 curled a superb finish in from the angle, 20 yards out. It was a quite fantastic goal, but by this point, the celebrations were muted. 5-0, and the game finished up soon after.
After the presentations, it was time to head back into Arenal, and go find some food. This was to come in the shape of some Chicken meat, though it was definitely more Donner than chicken, and to be honest, I hope it was something that I know of. Because, I’m unsure if it was chicken. There were some cats dotted about, here and there, so I wonder if they’d got one…I’m going to stop now, I’m getting worried….
Thanks to Arenal and Real Mallorca ‘B’ for the night’s entertainment, and all the very best to the both of them in the coming season. Vamos!!
Game: 6- One sided.
Ground: 7- Nice facilities, surface decent too.
Fans: 6- Why not.
Value For Money: Free day!