Balaídos is a difficult place to go at the best of times but Malaga put in a strong performance to deal a blow to Celta Vigo's hopes of European qualification, even if it had little impact on their own fight for survival, when the two teams faced off on Sunday night.
The Costa side ended a run of seven consecutive defeats with an impressive defensive showing which will ultimately count for nothing given the widening gap to Levante in 17th who beat Eibar 2-1 on Friday and are now 13 points ahead.
The match was far from a classic, however, with both sides offering little in terms of creativity, especially in the first half.
Pione Sisto created an opening for the hosts through his direct running in the 35th minute but couldn’t get enough whip on the ball to direct it inside the far post.
Minutes later, Malaga's top scorer this season on three, Chory Castro, cut in from the right before dragging his low shot just wide of the near post.
After a first half in which Celta afforded too much respect to the bottom side, the hosts returned to the field with greater determination. They were spearheaded by ex-Liverpool forward Iago Aspas, who was especially wound up by the rough treatment being dished out by the Malaga defence.
Aspas ended up walking a tight rope after picking up a booking for a spat with Miguel Torres and had to watch his mouth when on two occasions he had penalty appeals turned down.
However, it was the home favourite that forced the first save of the game out of Roberto with a snapshot from the right-hand side of the area, but the Malaga keeper got down fast and pushed the ball through the crowd and out to safety.
Aspas then got in behind Torres but with a tightening angle, could only hit his shot at Roberto’s legs.
The pressure on the Malaga goal continued to increase but when Aspas missed from six yards out with an open goal to aim at, you got the feeling it wasn’t going to be Celta’s day.
In fact, it could have got much worse for Celta in stoppage time when Malaga substitute Maxime Lestienne almost won it for the visitors when his dragged shot, on his weaker right foot, came back out off the post.
An improvement overall for Malaga but surely too little, too late.