With the team languishing at the foot of the table, you could forgive the fans for lacking in enthusiasm. However, Sunday night showed that Malaga fans were not yet ready to throw in the towel. Thousands lined the streets around La Rosaleda more than an hour and a half before kick-off to welcome the team bus into the ground.
Carrying the under-fire heroes of today, the bus had to slowly snake through the crowds and a thick cloud of red smoke created by flares.
The chanting was incessant and was reminiscent of those special Champions League nights of just a few years ago. The situation now couldn't be any more different, but the stakes are just as high.
“With what we have to go through [as fans]... all the ups and the downs... and to still show great support like this, I think we are the best fans in Spain,” said Miguel Cortés, president of the Guadalhorce 'peña' (supporters' club).
This was a sentiment echoed by Javier Martínez, head of the Frente Bokerón group, who said: “It's easy to give a special welcome when the team is doing well, but much more difficult when the team is doing as it is now.”
Prior to kickoff, the players also watched a special video prepared especially by the Frente Bokerón, which featured clips of fans, many of them children, giving motivational messages.