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MALAGA CF

Malaga were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw in a nervy match against Valladolid
03.03.14 - 14:49 -
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No relegation respite for Malaga
Bernt Schuster reacts to another of Malaga’s missed opportunities against Valladolid. :: ÑINO SALAS
With just three points separating Malaga from their visitors, and the relegation zone, the Blue and Whites had to salvage something from this match. They were, however, unable to convert their superior shot count and possession into goals.
Malaga started positively and with just ten minutes on the clock were ahead thanks to Roque Santa Cruz. Duda’s whipped-in corner was met by former Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers striker who headed past Mariño.
It was the perfect start for the home team and one would have thought that the goal would give confidence to the team and spur them on to search for a second. The opposite was the case. The home side seemed afraid of taking risks and doubling their lead.
Malaga’s defensive display was particularly poor. Antunes, Angeleri and Sergio Sánchez made numerous mistakes. They were punished on the half hour mark when Rukavina played a hopeful ball into the area from the right wing that, somehow, was not cleared by the Malaga defence. The ball found its way to Larsson who scored his first goal of the season. The goal went against the run of play and shocked the hosts.
In the second half Malaga were the stronger team and had the majority of chances. Duda had a free kick parried by Valladolid keeper Mariño, while Santa Cruz came close but headed just wide of the post.
Half an hour from the end Schuster made two changes with the tiring Tissone and Iokavenko being replaced by Pablo Pérez and Samu. The substitutes were unable to improve Malaga’s situation.
In the closing stages of the game Valladolid took advantage of Malaga’s chaotic defending and came close to dealing a critical blow. In the 80th minute Óscar received the ball in the area and was unchallenged by the slow-to-react defence and struck the ball against the crossbar. Then in the 93rd minute Willy Caballero came to the home team’s rescue once again. The Argentine smartly stopped Javi Guerra’s shot which should have given the visitors the lead.
There had been efforts to increase attendance figures with cheaper tickets on sale. However, there were still numerous empty seats. The crowd became increasingly impatient with the missed opportunities of the Blue and Whites and didn’t fail to let their feelings known. The German manager had to listen to chants of “Schuster, go now” not for the first time this season.
“The public are nervous and I understand this because I am equally disappointed with what I have seen,” explained the manager.
While the result does not lift Malaga away from the relegation zone, they can feel happy that they still picked up a point. “A point in these situations is always useful. We would have liked to have got all three points. We were close, but at the end it was not possible,” noted Schuster.
Malaga did create numerous goal scoring opportunities, something that has been rare since the new year. If the team continue to do this and play positively it will only be a matter of time until the they manage to find the back of the net with consistency.
Next week sees the Blue and Whites travel to Pamplona to face Osasuna who are just three points above Malaga in the league; victory could see them move up to twelfth position and a degree of safety before the visit of Real Madrid on 15th March.
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