Real Mallorca celebrated their first win under coach Joaquin Caparros with a hard-fought victory over Racing Santander.
After a dull opening period that drew boos from the home fans, the hosts took the lead in first-half stoppage time as an excellent run and cross from Emilio Nsue down the left forced Marc Torrejon to slice into his own net at the near post.
The goal appeared to raise the home side’s confidence as they pressed home their advantage after the break.
Tono Ramirez produced an excellent save to deny Tomer Hemed before Victor Casadesus doubled their advantage with a good finish from Michael Pereira’s cross.
However, Ariel Nahuelpan’s 75th-minute goal ensured a nervy finish for the home fans and that tension was compounded when Pedro Bigas was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on Manuel Arana.
Racing did have one last opportunity to snatch a draw but Dudu Aouate produced an excellent save from Torrejon in stoppage time to seal the three points.
Mallorca had gone five games without a win since Caparros replaced Michael Laudrup in early October and with Racing having won only once in their first 12 league games, the lack of confidence on show from both sides was apparent in a first-half devoid of any flow or quality.
Nsue was, though, the one player who looked capable of creating and so it proved with the opener as the Spanish Under-21 international burst down the left and fired a low cross in towards Hemed. Torrejon managed to get in front of the Israeli but in doing so could only deflect the cross past the helpless Tono.
Mallorca came out with more purpose and energy at the start of the second period and Hemed was denied his first goal for the club from open play as Tono pushed away his fierce effort on 54 minutes.
The hosts didn’t have to wait long for the crucial second goal though as Pereira’s excellent cross found the late arriving Victor and his finish this time gave Tono no chance.
Hector Cuper introduced Nahuelpan on the hour mark and the Argentinian had almost an immediate impact as shocking marking by Mallorca allowed him to head home Pape Diop’s free-kick with 15 minutes remaining.
Bigas then showed his inexperience with a wild and unnecessary challenge on Arana just inside the Racing half and was rightly dismissed by referee Fernandez Borbalan.
With the man advantage Racing started to dominate for the first time in the match and Torrejon had a great chance to atone for his previous error but saw his shot well-stopped by Aouate deep into added time.
Victory moves Mallorca up to 13th, four points clear of Racing who remain rooted to the foot of the table.