Willy Caballero and Antunes look on as Rayo score one of their goals. :: SUR
Bernd Schuster highlighted before the match how it would not be an easy task to come away from Vallecas with three points. How right he was. Malaga simply failed to show up and the first 45 minutes has to go down as one of their worst performances of the season.
Rayo played with more desire and ambition and rightly deserved their comprehensive victory. They went into the game without having won in their previous six outings and were lying 19th in the league. Two goals in two minutes from Falqué and and Arbilla left the Blue and Whites traumatised. After 45 minutes Sanchéz conceded a penalty which was converted byLarrivey. Falqué scored another impressive goal while Iakovenko netted for Malaga on his debut.
Malaga began with an attacking 4-1-4-1 formation and in the opening stages they were in control of the game. On occasions, however, they were left exposed at the back when going forward. Rayo began to take advantage in midfield as it seemed that Camacho was Malaga’s only midfield player who had any interest in defending. The away team could barely string three passes together without losing possession, while Pablo Pérez looked all at sea and made numerous mistakes. At times it looked like the Rayo were playing against an amateur Sunday league side.
The first goal came after 25 minutes, and what a goal it was! Falqué picked up the ball on the right wing and took it past Flávio and Antunes with ease and managed to beat Caballero at the far post. It was clear to see how much the goal meant to the Rayo players in their elaborate celebration as they hope to maintain their La Liga status.
The Madrid side doubled their lead minutes later following some shocking defending in which Malaga failed to clear their lines. The ball landed to Arbilla on the edge of the 18-yard box and his shot took a nasty deflection off Camacho which left Caballero wrong-footed.
At 2-0 down Malaga seemed in shock and were unable to respond. Things went from bad to worse for the Blue and Whites at the end of the first half as Sergio Sánchez gave away a clumsy foul in the penalty box and was awarded his second yellow card of the game. Larrivey stepped up to effectively tied up the match by half time.
Malaga failed to improve in the second half and were barely able to keep the ball for more than ten seconds. Tottenham Hotspur’s on loan winger Falqué got his second of the night in another impressive individual effort.
Iakovenko managed to score a consolation goal on his debut following a speedy run by Amrabat on the wing, but it was a case of too little too late.
Schuster highlighted the shortcomings of his team’s performance: “We were not even in the first half, from the first minute we lost all individual duels. Rayo and any other team can beat us when we play with that attitude”.
With the loss Malaga must be concerned about their precarious position hovering just three points above the relegation zone. On the plus side, this year’s relegation battle looks tighter than ever with four points separating nine teams. Schuster will be hoping to salvage something in next Monday’s home game against Champions League hopefuls Real Sociedad.