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Refereeing decisions mar Malaga draw with Villarreal

Charles falls after the controversial move by Trigueros.
Charles falls after the controversial move by Trigueros. / Agencia LOF
  • Charles’ header gave Marcelo Romero’s side the lead, before Bruno Soriano levelled with a penalty

Malaga drew yet again in La Liga, this time against Villarreal at the Estadio de la Cerámica on Sunday. Charles’ low header had given the visitors the lead inside 15 minues, but Bruno Soriano equalised just after the hour mark with a penalty.

The game however was full of controversial decisions, the first when the referee waved away Charles’ complaints for a penalty despite replays appearing to show the Brazilian striker being impeded by Manu Trigueros, before Vicandi Garrido sent off Roberto Soriano for lashing out at Ignacio Camacho.

Marcelo Romero’s side began the first half the sharper, and could have taken the lead in the ninth minute, but Pablo Fornals’ left-footed strike was brilliantly saved low to his right by Sergio Asenjo. However, five minutes later, Villarreal’s goalkeeper, who spent time on loan at La Rosaleda in 2011, was beaten after Roberto Rosales’ whipped cross was headed in by Charles for his second goal of the season, his first since the 2-2 draw with Espanyol in the second game of the season.

However, throughout the rest of the half, it would be the hosts who looked the more likely to score, with Villarreal left-back José Ángel and right-back Mario Gaspar enjoying plenty of width on the flanks. However, their crosses were met by a stern Malaga defence, who were intercepting potentially dangerous one-twos, particularly down the hosts’ left-hand side.

Nevertheless, Malaga survived a few scares, the first of which came in the 18th minute when Nicola Sansone failed to make any sort of contact with Ángel’s cross, before Rosales’ last-ditch challenge prevented the Italian from levelling following Adrián López’s pass. Carlos Kameni hadn’t had much to do until this point, but the Cameroonian was forced into action just before the half-hour mark when he put Trigueros’ curling effort from Jonathan Dos Santos’ cut-back behind for a corner. Four minutes later the hosts believed they were level, but Adrián was correctly given offside when he tapped home the rebound from Trigueros’ shot, ensuring the visitors went into the break in the lead.

The hosts began the second half much like they had ended the first, with Sansone evading the challenges of three Malaga defenders before firing over. Kameni was then on hand a minute later to gather Bruno Soriano’s long-range effort at the second attempt.

Five minutes later, the controversy began as Charles appeared to have his left arm pulled back by Trigueros inside the penalty area, but the only action the referee took was to brandish yellow cards to the Brazilian and Camacho for their protests. To rub salt into the wounds, Garrido then gave the hosts the opportunity to equalise when he pointed to the spot after Rosales’ untidy challenge on Sansone.

Bruno Soriano duly obliged and sent Kameni the wrong way to level the score. Jony replaced Keko in the aftermath of the decision, a move which created more chances for Malaga as they attempted to restore their lead. However, just as he did against Sevilla last week, Asenjo kept his side in the game, producing two sharp saves to deny the substitute, before saving again from Fornals with Charles lurking for the rebound.

Just after the 70-minute mark, Marcelo Romero’s side received a boost when Roberto Soriano received a straight red card for an apparent double kick on Camacho. The visitors certainly picked up the pace as a result, but despite Victor blocking another shot from Jony, it was the hosts who had the better chances to win the game.

Four minutes from the end, substitute and former Malaga player Samu Castillejo burst past the challenges of Camacho and Malaga substitute Javi Ontiveros, before cutting it back for Dos Santos who blazed over. Castillejo nearly sealed the game himself five minutes later, but Kameni diverted his left-footed drive after an incredible run past the post to ensure a point for both sides and no win in nine for Malaga.