surinenglish

Malaga just above the drop zone as struggles in front of goal continue

Sadiku had the only chance of the first half.
Sadiku had the only chance of the first half. / Salvador Salas
  • The hosts were the more dominant side on the day but Sporting could have nicked it with two golden opportunities in stoppage time

Malaga's struggles on and off the field continued on Sunday afternoon as a goalless draw with Sporting Gijón left the side just outside the drop zone by virtue of goal difference.

Anti-Al-Thani sentiment was once again made clear inside La Rosaleda as fans in the southern stand displayed posters bearing the sheikh's face with the message: "Guilty. Al-Thani out now!", as well as chanting before kick-off and during water breaks.

On the pitch it was a bit more harmonious, with Víctor Sánchez del Amo retaining largely the same shape and personnel from his side's defeat to Albacete the previous week, with just David Lombán and Lorenzo González coming in for Mikel and Renato Santos, respectively.

Luis Muñoz continued to shine in his new midfield role but despite controlling large portions of the possession in the first half, quality in the final third was seriously lacking.

Malaga only mustered one chance in the first half when Armando Sadiku, teed up by Muñoz, could only fire straight at keeper Diego Mariño from a tight angle. The only consolation was that Sporting created even less in the first 45 minutes.

That changed after the break as the game opened up. The visitors' first chance came after Álvaro Traver sprinted to keep the ball in play on the right wing before feeding in a cross to the near post where the deftest of touches from Uroš Đurđević forced a good save from Munir at the near post.

Some quick thinking from Juanpi then set Muñoz free down the left before he hooked the ball into the area for Adrián who rattled his header off the crossbar.

As stoppage time arrived, both sides could have settled the tie in their favour. Munir, who had little to do all day became his side's hero, twice denying Sporting with spectacular reflex saves, either side of Keidi Bare firing over the crossbar from barely ten yards out.

Malaga have now failed to score in four of their eight matches so far this season (with just one each in the other four) but coach Víctor insisted in his press conference following the game that the goals "will come".

"We had that Keidi chance and Adrián's one off the crossbar... We see the attitude of the players; they are happy, with their heads held high. We know it's just a matter of time before luck turns for us."

Malaga now face a difficult double away day with trips to Zaragoza and Huesca in the space of four days.