Darder celebrates his first La Liga goal with Juanmi and Santa Cruz. :: ÁLVARO CABRERA
The Blue and Whites won their third consecutive away game last night after beating bottom-of-the-league Real Betis in the Andalusian derby.
In the 83rd minute the Benito Villamarín stadium was buzzing with the feeling that perhaps this might be the start of a late charge by the Seville team to avoid relegation.
Five minutes later, the home fans were heading for the exits in their droves, shoulders slumped, knowing that survival will be a distinct outside possibility.
The home side played with conviction and had more opportunities in the opening stages. Santa Cruz had Malaga’s only chance of the first half after his shot was struck against goalkeeper Adán.
Betis went ahead after 30 minutes. Lolo Reyes picked up the ball outside the area and placed a curling shot towards the Malaga goal. The effort was lacking pace and should have been dealt with comfortably by Caballero, but the normally reliable goalkeeper allowed the ball to slip through his grasp and into the back of the net.
Baptistão had a great chance to double his team’s lead but skied his shot to the frustration of the home fans.
Malaga were playing better in the second half and it was the entrance of Coín-born Juanmi that changed the fortune of the team.
In the 84th minute Amrabat taunted the Betis defence on the wing and stayed on his feet to pick out Juanmi who expertly guided the ball into the corner.
Directly after, Caballero made up for his earlier mistake and blocked from N’Diaye with his trademark handball-style save.
The game opened up in the final minutes as both sides were looking for a winner. Once again Amrabat found himself on the wing and his pass into the area was cleverly dummied by Rescaldani and found its way to Sergi Darder who smashed his shot into the top corner. Unstoppable.
In a dramatic twist during the final exchanges, Betis were awarded a controversial penalty following a scuffle between Camacho and N’Diaye.
Rubén Castro stepped up to salvage a draw but struck his shot onto the crossbar.
Schuster joined in the final whistle celebrations and stated: “I hope that with this game we change our direction and start winning at home.”
The loss for Betis leaves them eight points from safety and they now have the daunting task of traveling to the Nou Camp this weekend.
Malaga now have gained more points on the road (18) this season than they have at home (17). This Sunday they face another Andalusian derby as relegation rivals Granada travel to La Rosaleda.