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Draw leaves Malaga outside promotion spots for the first time this season

Cifu celebrates with the scorer of Malaga’s opening goal, Alfred N’Diaye, in Cadiz on Monday night.
Cifu celebrates with the scorer of Malaga’s opening goal, Alfred N’Diaye, in Cadiz on Monday night. / Agencia Lof
  • Ager Aketxe's freekick cancelled out Alfred N'Diaye's opener in the latest Andalusian derby on Monday night

Based on the form book this season, a point away to Cadiz is not a bad result by any means. However, the consequences of a 1-1 draw for Malaga at Carranza on Monday night may have damaging long-term consequences as the result saw the Blue and Whites drop out of the play-off positions for the first time this season, with just five games to go.

Despite Víctor Sánchez's charges dominating possession for long periods, they failed to build on an early lead and capitalise on their dominance. Malaga went ahead as early as the seventh minute as a result of a swift counterattack spearheaded by Adrián. The former Eibar man picked out Renato on the right with a dinked pass and the Portuguese's cross-cum-shot was fumbled by veteran stopper Cifuentes into the path of Alfred N'Diaye who couldn't miss.

However, the lead didn't last long - 16 minutes, in fact - when Ager Aketxe managed to get his freekick, slightly right of centre, up and over the wall, leaving Munir with too much ground to make up.

If the crowd at the Carranza had been subdued by the visitors' electric start, the equaliser certainly got them back on side, demonstrating exactly why it is one of the most feared venues in the division.

If Malaga were to become only the second team to win there all year, they would have to prevent their on-form opponents from creating inroads as easily as they were able to in the first half.

One such example was when Mario Barco was able to rescue a ball from the byline without much opposition and lay the ball off to Jairo Izquierdo whose shot, under little pressure, was palmed away unconvincingly by Munir.

The game continued along the same lines in the second half with Jairo finding pockets of space on the left. This time he picked out Matos on the overlap who put in an inch-perfect low cross for Djordje Jovanovic, again in plenty of space, who struck inches over the bar.

Malaga then started to enjoy the lion's share of the possession (67 per cent overall) but struggled to get close to Cifuentes' goal.

One opportunity presented itself when some neat interplay between Gustavo Blanco Leschuk and Adrián on the edge of the box resulted in the latter stinging the palms of the keeper who, in truth, would have been majorly at fault had it found the back of the net.

Malaga coach Víctor Sánchez introduced pacey Moroccan winger Hicham in the 78th minute in the hope of finding a breakthrough, but none was forthcoming.

"I got the feeling that there was a lot of mutual respect between the teams," Sánchez said after the game. "No one wanted to make a mistake."

One win, one defeat and now a draw under the Sánchez's stewardship may have lifted spirits around Malaga CF, but the result sees the Blue and Whites sit outside the play-off places. However, the coach doesn't think this is cause for concern: "I'm not worried because we're still right in contention to go up. We still have a lot of options open to us and we are going to try to make the most of them."