Schuster pondering the match at the final whistle. :: SALVADOR SALAS
This match was a relegation battle with just one point separating the teams in the league. Both knew that a loss would heap the pressure on for the final third of the season. Consequently, it was a drab game with few chances as neither side wanted to take risks going forward. It seemed that both were happy to grind out the match and settle for a point.
Bernd Schuster made six changes to the team with the Blue and Whites lacking a reliable starting 11. Roque Santa Cruz began as a lone striker following his impressive performance in last week’s match against Real Sociedad.
For the hosts, Verza was their main threat and the Spaniard thought he had had put the hosts ahead early on. However, he was correctly ruled offside. Trujillo also had another good chance but was spectacularly denied by Willy Caballero. The goalkeeper has been as reliable as any other Malaga player this season.
Duda and Amrabat created a couple of chances for themselves with the majority of Malaga’s opportunities coming from dead ball situations. They were unable to capitalise on their limited sights of goal. Meanwhile, Camacho had a solid performance in defensive midfield. Almeria came close again in the second half with Torsiglieri anticipating a free kick but was caught offside. Indeed, Malaga’s offside trap is one of the few positive aspects of their game this season.
Yet again Schuster’s temper got the better of him as he threw the ball to the floor when it was an Almeria throw-in and received a talking to by the referee. The manager had only just returned to the touchline following a two-match ban.
Schuster gave his opinion of the match: “I didn’t like the game at all. The most positive thing is the result because it was a match in which there was very little football played. It was a game with few opportunities; we didn’t have the ability to play well.” The Malaga manager also spoke about the lack of goals that his team are managing to score: “This season we have failed to score in 13 matches. It’s a significant shortcoming of the team which we still haven’t been able to rectify. It will possibly not be the last match in which we get this result; we need more quality to be dangerous in front of our opponents’ goal.”
In spite of recent attacking signings Amrabat, Pablo Pérez and Rescaldani, the team has still been unable to find the back of the net with consistency. The Blue and Whites have only managed to score 23 goals in their 25 league games. However, one positive is that they still have a better goal difference than their rivals and this could prove to be vital come the end of the season.
This Saturday, relegation rivals Real Valladolid travel to Malaga for a match that has been billed a cup final. Valladolid lie three points below Malaga in the relegation zone. In 2014 Malaga have only managed to win one game in eight and have lost five of these. If this run of poor form continues relegation could be a distinct possibility.