Just goal difference keeps Malaga out of the relegation zone after a 1-0 defeat away to Albacete extended the side's winless streak to six on Saturday.
Despite conjuring up the majority of the chances at Estadio Carlos Belmonte, their high-flying hosts looked the more accomplished side both in possession of the ball and in front of goal, converting their only real chance of note midway through the second half.
The absence of Ukrainian striker Roman Zozulya for Albacete was a surprise, but Malaga coach Víctor Sánchez del Amo had a few surprises up his sleeve himself. Central defender Luis Muñoz was brought back into the starting line-up, albeit in an unfamiliar midfield role as the coach returned to his more habitual 4-1-4-1 shape.
In stark contrast to their previous two matches, the improved balance in midfield helped Malaga to have better control of the game. But despite Renato hitting the crossbar from a cleverly-worked free-kick, a lack of overall quality prevented the visitors from getting close to the Albacete goal on a regular basis.
Renato again almost caught Tomeu Nadal out at the start of the second half but the keeper got down well at his near post to push the shot away.
Malaga's good work was undone midway through the second half. Lapses in concentration proved costly as Renato and Keidi Bare were caught out positionally and Diego González (on as a substitute for the injured Juankar) was beaten to Manu Fuster's low cross from the left by the hungrier Rey Manaj who had the simplest task of placing the ball past Munir from just five yards out.
With plenty of time still left on the clock, Malaga pushed for the equaliser and it came as no surprise that they found most luck via set pieces.
Substitute Lorenzo González kept Nadal earnest with a drilled free-kick to which the keeper had to react late after the ball passed over the heads of a vast crowd gathered on the six-yard line.
Adrián and Albanian forward Armando Sadiku then also came close with two headers from corner kicks.
However, for the third time this season, Malaga were unable to find a goal, something which Víctor admitted was "costing" his side: "The reality is that we are struggling to get goals."
He added: "Scoring is the most important thing. If you don't score, you can't win."