The hosts let a 3-1 lead slip and looked as if they were going to leave with nothing, before academy graduate Ontiveros’ long-range stunner rescued the victory. In a rain-soaked afternoon, both sides seemed to favour attack over defence, leading to one of the most captivating games of the season.
In a tale of set pieces, the first half started disastrously for the hosts as Ricca brought down Bruno Gama in the box after just two minutes. Celso Borges stepped up and slotted the ball down the middle.
Despite the early goal, chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges. The best chance for the home side fell to Juanpi, whose freekick from the edge of the box sailed over. Deportivo then had the chance to double their lead as Florin Andone was played through, but he snatched at his shot and dragged it wide.
The second penalty of the game came after 19 minutes when Michael Santos turned his defender in the box and was brought down. The in-form forward converted in emphatic style, burying the ball in the corner past Tyton’s outstretched arm.
Sandro continued to impress up front for Malaga, cutting in from the left wing but delaying his shot too long to allow the defender to block. Just two minutes later, Juanpi was fouled by former Malaga defender, Albentosa, on the edge of the box. Sandro stepped up and showed why he is los Boquerones’ top scorer this season, curling a phenomenal freekick in off the post to give the hosts the lead for the first time in the game.
Malaga started to take control after the break, with Juanpi continuously finding space in midfield to break forward. An audacious chip from 25 yards proved a step too far however for the number 10.
Sandro was forced off the pitch with an injury after 53 minutes but this did not affect the home side’s attacking prowess, as the man in form, Michael Santos, scored his second of the game just three minutes later. Pablo Fornals cut the ball back from the wing to the waiting Santos, whose scuffed shot bounced off the turf and looped over Tyton.
With a two-goal cushion, Malaga began to rest on their laurels and Deportivo took advantage. Marlos Moreno came close while Andone also tested the gloves of Kameni. It was the latter who brought his side back into the game, squeezing a header under Kameni after a cross from Carlos Gil.
With an equaliser beckoning, Kameni was being tested more and more. However, the Cameroonian stood up to the test, saving low from an inspired Andone and denying Celso Borges from a header.
Just as the Malaga keeper seemed to be reaching the heights of his clean sheet against Barcelona, he failed to gather a simple cross and Borges was on hand to stroke the ball into an empty net to equalise.
With ten minutes to play, both sides were pushing for a winner in an incredibly tense affair. Andone’s first time effort came close to completing the comeback for the away side, while Luisinho’s shot also fell wide of the mark.
However, two minutes into stoppage time, substitute Javi Ontiveros produced a moment of sublime quality, as his long-range effort sailed into the top corner to give his side victory in an enthralling encounter at La Rosaleda.