‘Parental Valencia’s decision two years ago was a failure’ MVP Lee Kang-in’s deadly No. 5 ‘courier’ assist → Mourinho goal! 11th-ranked Mallorca secures 1st Division stay, upward trend stops 0-1 loss Valencia 2nd Division relegation threatened
Valencia youth product Lee Kang-in (22-Mallorca) struck again against his hometown team. A precise ‘courier’ cross led to a header from the Mallorca striker. Mourinho handed him a piece of cake. Mourinho also pointed his finger at Lee Kang-in, who embraced him after the goal.
Lee was named the game’s official MVP (Most Valuable Player) for his fifth league assist. Mourinho’s goal gave Mallorca a thrilling victory and secured their place in the top flight of Spanish La Liga. Lee Kang-in led Mallorca to a 1-0 victory over Valencia in their La Liga home match at Son Moi in Mallorca, Spain on Sept. 26 (KST). Mourinho scored the winning goal with a header, assisted by Lee Kang-in. Lee has recorded offensive points (1 goal, 1 assist) in both meetings with Valencia this season. He scored in the previous match against Valencia. Last October, he scored a left-footed winner in the 38th minute against his hometown team.
This is Lee’s second season away from Valencia. In August 2021, he left the club where he spent his entire teenage years. A lot of bad things happened there. He became a free agent and signed with Mallorca. Until the end of June 2025.
His first season in Mallorca, 2021-2022, was an adjustment period. He didn”t really stand out. He only totaled one goal and three assists (including one in the FA Cup). That changed when Mexican coach Javier Aguirre took over in March last year, and Lee was used differently. The 65-year-old veteran has played to Lee’s strengths. He allowed him to run freely through the midfield and flanks, attacking and defending. It was more of a freeroll. He started almost every game. As he got more playing time, his attacking points naturally increased to 6 goals and 5 assists this season as he passed the 2000-minute mark. It’s safe to say that Lee and Mourinho have fed Mallorca this season. It is very likely that Lee will leave Mallorca in the summer transfer window. Big clubs in the EPL and La Liga have his name on their transfer lists. It’s likely that the Mallorca club will find it hard to resist a high transfer fee.
Mallorca’s three points against recently surging Valencia moved them up to 11th in the league with 47 points. They are assured of staying in the top flight regardless of the outcome of their remaining two games this season. The gap between the relegation zone and 18th-placed Valladolid (38 points) is now nine points. Mallorca now has only two games left against Barcelona (June 29) and Rayo Vallecano (June 5). Valencia, who were beaten by Lee and Mallorca, are 13th with 40 points but are not out of the relegation zone. They are only two points behind 18th-placed Valladolid. Valencia can’t rest easy with games against Espanyol and Betis still to come.
Mallorca deliberately didn’t line up against Valencia today. In particular, they didn’t raise the defense aggressively, which left a gap between the front line and the back line. This is a typical tactic for a team with a weak base strength. Aguirre does a good job of managing weak teams. He minimizes conceding goals and breaks down opponents with a single counterattack. Mallorca has scored 34 goals and conceded 40 in 36 games this season. They scored an average of just under a goal per game and conceded around one. That’s how they managed 13 wins (8 draws and 15 losses). It was criticized by some as “boring soccer,” but for a Mallorca club whose first division survival was at stake, it was a success.
Mallorca lined up in a 3-4-3 against Valencia. Ndiaye-Muraki-Cadeware up front, Lee Kang-in-Baba-Rodriguez-Mapeo at the back, Kopete-Balzent-Hajikadunic at the back, and Raikovic in goal. Lee Kang-in played as a left wing-back, combining attack and defense. In the beginning of the game, he focused on stopping the opponent’s wingers from pushing forward. He was more in a hurry to defend than to attack. Lee didn’t play to his strengths.
Valencia won the battle at the back early on. They won more of the ball and controlled the attack. Valencia lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Duro up front, Lino-Almeida-Lopez right behind him, Gonzalez-Guerra in defensive midfield, Gaya-Paulista-Diacabbi-Coreia in the back, and Mamardasvili in goal.
Lee was shown a yellow card in the 12th minute of the first half while defending. He will miss the next match against FC Barcelona. Lee took all the kicks from set pieces. Valencia continued to attack down the left flank in the first half, but couldn’t find a finish. Mallorca broke through in the 43rd minute when N’Diaye sent a shot straight at the keeper. It was Mallorca’s best threat of the half, but Ndiaye’s shot was weak. In the end, the teams went into halftime scoreless at 0-0.
At the start of the second half, Mallorca took off N’Diaye and brought on Costa, who moved from the flanks to the center. He took on the role of linking up the attack from the center of the pitch. Aguirre’s choice paid off. At the start of the second half, there was a fierce midfield battle. Neither team raised their defensive line. This opened up a lot of space in the middle. Valencia scored the winning goal (1-0) in the 19th minute of the second half. They capitalized on a chance. Lee Kang-in’s razor-sharp left-footed cross was met in the middle by Mourinho, who soared to head home. It was Lee’s fifth league assist (six goals).
With the score at 0-1, Valencia threw their weight behind the attack. Mallorca responded with a full-strength defense, and Lee Kang-in showed a fantastic ball touch and dribble break near the touchline in the 26th minute. Valencia brought on Cavani and Mari at the same time in the 30th minute. Mallorca also brought on Moranes as a joker. Mallorca took off Lee in the 38th minute and brought on Sanchez. In the process, Valencia’s Uruguayan star Kabani twice pushed Lee, earning him a yellow card. Lee was effectively stalling for time, and an exasperated Cavani was urged to get off the field quickly. Valencia pushed forward but lacked finesse. Mallorca held on for a one-goal victory in front of their home fans.
As Spanish outlet Eldesmarque put it, ‘Valencia’s Lee Kang-in was enough to sink a lazy Valencia. His fantastic assist led to Mourinho’s winner. He started the game as a wing-back, but Aguirre adjusted his position and it was a game-changing decision. Statistics site Fúscore.com gave Lee a rating of 7.9, Mourinho 7.3, Kopete 8.0, Baba 7.3 and Maffeo 7.0. Lee was named the official MVP of the match. Lee was all smiles after the game.토토사이트
Head coach Mallorca Aguirre said in a post-match interview, “I chose Lee Kang-in to break down Valencia, but the experiment didn’t work out. I didn’t like the first half, but I saw a much more visible team in the second half. I made a mistake (using Lee as a wing-back). We didn’t have enough players in that position. I could have put Marcos Fernandez on, but Valencia chose to play Lee because they thought he could break them down, and the experiment didn’t work. But the team was better in the second half.”