mALAGA 0 - 2 REAL SOCIEDAD
A deflected freekick and a poor refereeing decision were the downfall for Malaga as they suffered a second consecutive loss under new manager Marcelo Romero on Monday night. Despite trailing through unfortunate circumstances, the hosts were disappointing in attack, partly due to the early exit of Sandro through injury, and did not deserve anything from the game.
There was little to get excited about in a lacklustre first half from both sides, who were consistently found lacking the creative spark in the final third.
Malaga had a number of opportunities to counter as Real Sociedad pushed high up the pitch. Chory found space on the right-hand side but his cross to the unmarked Sandro was inches too long.
The visitors had the best of the chances in the first half, with Willian José’s shot from the edge of the box drifting just wide. Juanmi also had the chance to score but could only tamely shoot straight into the arms of Kameni.
Romero’s reign as head coach suffered another setback as Sandro was forced off in the 21st minute, replaced by teenage debutant Adalberto Peñaranda. The Venezuelan got off to a nervy start but his pace and power were clear to see.
Kameni showed why he plays between the sticks as his footwork continues to be questioned. He gifted the ball to Juanmi after five minutes and was lucky to see his defenders atone for his error. This was followed by a woefully scuffed attempted pass to Peñaranda who was looking for a ball in behind the defence. Despite this, the Cameroonian did little wrong with his hands in the first half, albeit without being truly challenged.
The breakthrough came shortly after the restart as Iñigo Martínez’s freekick took a strong deflection off the wall, giving Kameni no chance. Malaga hit back straight away and had an appeal for a handball in the box turned down by the referee just a minute later.
Canales should have doubled the visitors' advantage as he found himself unmarked at a corner. However, his header went just wide to the relief of a stranded Kameni.
Real Sociedad did double their lead just minutes later in controversial fashion, as Willian José’s header from a corner fell to Juanmi to poke past Kameni. However, replays showed that the former Malaga man was in an offside position.
Malaga were left deflated by the goal and never really recovered, creating little in attack and sorely missing their top scorer, Sandro. While the arrival of Ontiveros caused more problems for the defence, Real Sociedad were rarely stretched.
Michael Santos and Ontiveros both had chances to pull a goal back in injury time but their headers were well off the mark. The missed opportunities will be worrying for Romero, who must hope that Sandro’s injury is not serious.
While they were perhaps unlucky to concede as they did, the result was no less than they deserved, as Rulli gained one of the easiest clean sheets of his career. The result leaves Malaga in 13th place while Real Sociedad move up to 5th.