Garcia leaves it late
Atletico Madrid lost ground on Barcelona as Real Mallorca's Kevin Garcia scored a late leveller in a 1-1 draw.
Last Updated: 06/01/13 10:27pm
Atletico Madrid lost ground on Primera Division leaders Barcelona as Kevin Garcia popped up with an equaliser three minutes from time to snatch a point for Real Mallorca in a feisty encounter at Iberostar Stadium.
The visitors were without striker Radamel Falcao due to suspension and their lack of threat showed in a poor first period.
The match came to the boil inside the final quarter, beginning with Raul Garcia breaking the deadlock from close range in the 72nd minute.
Kevin Garcia pounced to level with the clock ticking down, while moments later players and staff from both teams were involved in an ugly melee as tempers began to fray.
The hosts nearly claimed all the points as Giovani Dos Santos' wicked free-kick in injury time came back off the post, leaving Atletico relieved to come away with a point.
A listless first period played out before a sparsely populated stadium offered little in the way of goalmouth threat, with Atletico - also shorn of Arda Turan and Miranda due to suspensions - looking distinctly below their best.
The only chance of the half arrived five minutes before the break when Diego Costa latched on to a long ball over the defence and flashed in a low shot that Dudu Aouate turned away with his boot.
Mallorca looked brighter in the second period and five minutes in Michael Pereira hit a bouncing shot that Thibaut Courtois got down to save.
Within a minute the visitors were on the attack, Filipe Luis' shot taking a bounce right in front of Aouate, who looked uncertain as he scooped the ball around the post.
Raul Garcia, already on a booking, was fortunate to stay on the pitch in the 53rd minute when he clipped the heels of Javi Marquez but the referee elected to keep his cards in his pocket.
And that decision was to prove crucial as Raul Garcia popped up to open the scoring.
Diego Costa was the architect of the goal, turning Javi Marquez one way and then the other before firing in a shot that Aouate could only parry to Raul Garcia, who bundled the ball over the line.
The lead only lasted 15 minutes as Mallorca's players battled hard to keep a move alive inside the Atletico box, the ball eventually breaking to Kevin Garcia who drilled a shot home via a slight deflection off Cata Diaz.
Tempers flared moments later when Diego Costa and Marquez tangled, prompting a needlessly theatrical reaction from the Mallorca man that led to an altercation between players and staff from both sides.
There was still time for a winner and it almost went the way of the hosts in the dying seconds as Giovani took aim with a wonderful left-footed free-kick that beat Courtois but came back off a post.