Malaga suffered an enormous blow to their chances of survival with a last-gasp defeat to relegation rivals Las Palmas on Monday night.
Alen Halilovic scored the winner in the 90th minute, after Malaga continued to show signs of improvement with an impressive away display in Gran Canaria.
Brown Ideye led the line well on his debut for the club, giving his side an outlet on the counterattack as they sat back and absorbed pressure from the home team who were comfortable in possession but found Malaga’s two compact lines of four difficult to break down.
In fact, it wasn’t until minutes before the break that Las Palmas created the first chance of the game. Míchel’s half volley on the edge of the box was stopped well to his left by Roberto who pushed the ball out for a corner.
Jonathan Calleri made the most of space on the edge of the box to test his range seconds later, but his effort flew narrowly over the bar.
With both sides needing the three points, the game opened up more in the second half and this worked in Malaga’s favour. However, a lack of sharpness on the part of Samuel García let the hosts off the hook when clean through on goal; his heavy touch ran straight through to the keeper.
Keko then had the chance of the game, but could only poke his effort from the six-yard line at the goalkeeper’s outstretched leg.
Oghenekaro Etebo, who ran Las Palmas’ midfield with his energy, then tested Roberto’s reflexes with a powerful strike from 25 yards which required tipping over the bar.
In pursuit of the win, Malaga head coach José González brought on Juanpi, Alberto Bueno and debutant Isaac Success to stretch the Las Palmas backline and but for an incorrect offside flag, Success could have been in one-on-one with the keeper.
González was furious on the touchline, but worse punishment was to come as the game entered stoppage time. Defender Ignasi Miquel’s weak clearance under pressure fell straight to Alen Halilovic on the end of the box and the Croatian volleyed the ball into the far corner.
The relatively tame shot deceived Roberto, whose view was obstructed by Miquel in front of him who Malaga complained was fouled in the build-up.
This was a cruel end to the game for the visitors who have seldom played better this campaign. This counts for nothing, however, and Malaga are now seven points from safety, four away from Las Palmas who remain in 19th spot despite victory.