RCD Mallorca visited Elche CF in a rainy, hard-fought match that ended in a 1-1 draw after ten minutes of stoppage time in the second half. Both sides went down to ten men in this sloppy match where possession changed hands many times. Despite many suffering turnovers and playing a high press, Mallorca managed to dominate possession, especially since Elche preferred to sit back on defense. Javier Aguirre began the match in a 3-4-2-1 that became a 4-4-2 at times and a 5-4-1 on defense. This would turn into a 4-3-3 after Elche’s red card, but only briefly before their own red card. Mallorca did score their leveler through a Vedat Muriqi penalty before his own red card had them at even men again. It was a roller coaster match for him, first missing a penalty that led to the momentum swing that helped Elche take the lead, then the penalty score and malicious red card.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: South Korean
- Age: 21
- Date of birth: 19/02/2001
- Club: RCD Mallorca
- Career: Incheon United (Y), Incheon Flyings, Valencia
- Position: Second Striker, Left Winger
- Preferred foot: Left
- Other Positions: Attacking Midfielder, Right Winger
Kang-in Lee is a 173 cm tall left-footed attacker from South Korea who started this match as a second striker and moved to the left wing as the match moved along. He played until 94th minute when he was subbed off after an above average performance. Lee displayed excellent pace and movement skills like agility and bend in this match. He is a supreme athlete for his size.
The broadcasters also noted that Lee can lose control of his attitude at times leading to bookings. I did notice this trend as he talked back to the referees a couple times but seemed to catch himself. Knowing he has been getting into trouble with that and watching himself for that behavior is mature for a young player.
Offensively, Lee translated his athleticism to ability when dribbling and ball carrying. He was very confident with the ball at his and this was highlighted by an amazing turn from the left wing to the inside to create space from his defender and dish a pass to the middle edge of the box. Lee lost control of the ball a couple of times without bother of the defense, this could be contributed to the horrible weather conditions. Other than that, he was calm and decisive on the ball with beautiful, soft touch. Lee’s distribution was what really caught the eye, he was the most creative player on the pitch. He put in line-breaking passes with solid touch down the left flank and the middle channel, mainly with his stronger left. His angled passes into and near the box started many dangerous chances for Mallorca. Lee displayed accuracy on his crossed as the main set piece taker and in open play. Off ball, the South Korean playmaker mainly liked to show in space in order to receive and make a dribble move. He did make forward runs, too, but he was mainly comfortable on the edge of the box, creating from those areas.
Lee’s main duties defensively were contributing to the high press and cutting into passing lines. He utilized his pace well in these situations and was very willing to apply pressure. This led to one press where he gained back possession with a stand tackle.
Rating – A1
Kang-in Lee had a good performance in this draw playing multiple positions and showing off his high-level creativity. His high effort play and athletic traits combine for an attacker with loads of potential and the quality to be a top player in La Liga already. If he improves his play in the box and finishing instincts/ability, Lee will be a complete forward at a Champions League level. The full South Korean international has a special skillset and the tools to take him a long way.
- Nationality: Spanish
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 10/10/1999
- Club: RCD Mallorca
- Career: Écija Balompié (Y), Córdoba CF (Y), Villarreal (Y), Penya Deportiva (Loan), Ponferradina
- Position: Left Center Back
- Preferred foot: Left
José Copete is a ball-playing left-sided center back that first caught my attention in the Segunda Division last season with Ponferradina. The left-footer has an average build at 190 cm tall and has decent pace with long strides. Copete was a good communicator in this match, as well. After Lucas Boyé’s red card for Elche, Copete was replaced in the 64th minute to add more attacking play to Mallorca’s line up as Aguirre shifted the squad into a 4-3-3.
On defense, Copete displayed good positioning throughout and was ready to cover because of it, too. In a 1v1, this positioning helped him deflect a pass in toward the box. In 1v1 situations, he flipped his hips fluidly to follow the ball. On the break, he had good recovery speed to get into position which led to interceptions and halting of breaks. One interception was over the top on the counter and Copete volleyed it to himself and won an aerial duel and started the counter with an accurate header. Overall, he was solid in the air in this match. Another interception happened on a throw in, and Copete back passed it to a teammate who delivered an immediate long pass to start a counter. On the break, he even was willing to press up and put in a tackle, showing some aggression and good decision-making as he picked and chose those scenarios carefully. On one loose ball, Copete decided to start his recovery into defense rather than challenge a much quicker attacker for the ball and risk a foul. His defensive decision-making and knowing his physical limitations, as he is a tall and physical defender and not as quick, showed his maturity in the mental game.
Copete displayed his ball-playing ability with not just his left foot in this match. As a dribbler he was comfortable with both feet and as a passer was willing to mix in his right foot at times, although they were mainly short or back passes. With his left, though, Copete looked to advance play from the back with his soft touch. Copete did not face much pressure, but his passing ability was nonetheless impressive. He threaded an intermediate pass through two players and made a long pass from deep in his own half to advance the ball past midfield, where an aerial duel was won and possession got advanced further. There was another potential over the top line-breaking pass he attempted but he over hit the ball, it was a creative idea, though.
Rating – A2
José Copete plays a sought-after style of play as a left-footed ball playing center back and couples this with La Liga quality defensive ability. His size and physical ability also help his quality and potential at center back. Copete has made the leap from the Segunda Division quite smoothly and will be a center back to watch in Spain as he continues to develop.