SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

ONO Estadi, Spain

Attendance: 12000

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Mallorca

  • Tomer Hemed 21'

1 - 0

FT

Tissone keeping the faith

Real Mallorca midfielder Fernando Tissone is not giving up hope his side can still escape the drop even though things are looking grim for the rock-bottom Balearic Island side.

Last weekend's 2-1 loss at Athletic Bilbao left Gregorio Manzano's men five points adrift of 17th-placed Real Zaragoza and safety, although that gap is essentially six points as Zaragoza have the better head-to-head record between the two sides this season.

With only three games to go, that means Mallorca need to produce something special to salvage their Primera Division status, but Tissone is still up for the fight and has urged his team-mates to show pride and honour even if the chances of staying up are slim.

``Until the mathematics say otherwise we are going to have hope,'' said the on-loan Sampdoria player ahead of tomorrow's visit of Real Betis.

``We know it's difficult, but this is our job. It's what we've wanted to do since we were small, that's why it's an honour to be a football player.

``We have to have respect for ourselves, for the profession and, above all, for the fans.''

While the Segunda Division looms large for Mallorca, their opponents Betis are hoping to be gracing Europe next season.

A victory tomorrow would lift them above Andalusian neighbours Malaga into sixth place and leave them six points ahead of Rayo Vallecano in eighth.

Rayo boast the better head-to-head record against Betis this season, but with the Andalusian club's final two games coming against struggling Zaragoza and Levante, Pepe Mel's men will be optimistic a European berth is within their grasp.

Mel is not getting ahead of himself though, using Atletico Madrid's Copa del Rey final win over Real Madrid on Friday night as proof that things do not always go as expected in sport.

He said: ``Until Rayo cannot catch us, we won't feel we have qualified.

``In football two plus two does not always equal four. Atletico Madrid went 14 years without beating Madrid and it seemed as though the final didn't need to be played.

``In football there are many variables which means things are different all the time. For them (Mallorca) this game is a final.''

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