surinenglish

Malaga let derby win slip in stoppage time

Blanco Leschuk's goal drought continues.
Blanco Leschuk's goal drought continues. / Salvador Salas
  • Almeria snatched a point from La Rosaleda with Luis Rioja's strike in the 91st minute

Luis Rioja's 91st minute strike sent Almeria fans home ecstatic as the visitors snatched a late draw in the Andalusian derby at La Rosaleda on Friday night.

Malaga, who had taken the lead in the 12th minute courtesy of Adrián's controlled volley, had their fair share of chances to put the game to bed but were punished for their wastefulness as the visitors grew into the game in the second half.

Blue and Whites coach Juan Ramón Muñiz surprised everyone with his starting line-up by including new signing Erik Morán from the start, despite having only trained with the first team for three days. The Basque started at the base of a five-man midfield which on paper lacked width. However, it was through the man operating from the left that scored the opener.

Keidi Bare's first-time cross from the right evaded the entire Almeria backline and found Adrián at the back post whose side-foot volley left René with no chance between the sticks.

Despite the compactness of the midfield and the extra composure added by Morán who seamlessly slotted into the system, Almeria had the ball in the back of the net shortly afterwards. Juan Carlos' left-footed volley cannoned back off the post before Álvaro Giménez stabbed home the rebound from a marginally offside position.

The hosts headed the warning and started to control the play better and came within inches of doubling their lead when Renato Santos' freekick rocked the crossbar.

An even better chance came just after the break when Bare hit the ball straight at the keeper from six yards out when he had the whole goal to aim at.

After being on the receiving end of a clatter, Morán's debut was over after 74 minutes and he was replaced by fellow new recruit Yevhen Seleznov who has quickly become a fan favourite.

The Ukrainian, whose every touch was greeted with enthusiasm from the home faithful, almost finished off the game when he neatly brought down a long diagonal in the area, before sending the ball across the face of goal where Esteban Saveljich got back to clear.

In truth, a goal at that moment would have relieved a lot of tension as the visitors started to control possession and send balls into the area where keeper Munir rarely came off his line to command the situation.

Chema tried his luck with a lofted pass into the area but neither Lucien Owona nor Saveljich could connect at the back post.

The hosts hoped they had weathered the storm but the pressure finally told in stoppage when former Marbella winger Rioja slotted home from close range to steal a point, raising the total of points lost in the final minutes to seven for Malaga.

"In the final minutes we lost our cool," admitted Muñiz after the game. "We started to panic and that's when they got the equaliser."

Despite the slip-up, Malaga remain just a point off leaders Albacete who are only there having been awarded three points as they had been due to face Reus who have now been banned from competition.