The mood quickly swung from elation to despair in the away end at La Romareda on Thursday night, as Malaga saw what they thought was a late winner cancelled out by a near-instantaneous response from the hosts Zaragoza.
It was a fittingly hectic end to a game which had been equally frenzied and end-to-end, but neither manager will likely be satisfied with the 2-2 scoreline on 90 minutes; three consecutive draws have now slowed Zaragoza's promotion push, while Malaga's winless run, stretching back to 17 August, continues.
The visitors got off to the best possible start, with Armando Sadiku putting the Andalusians ahead within three minutes. Ismael, released down the right, cut the ball back into the Zaragoza box, and after trickling past several furiously back-pedalling defenders, it fell to Sadiku to finish neatly from six yards. Zaragoza nearly produced an immediate response, with Giorgi Papunashvili unfortunate to see his drilled low shot hit the post.
Equaliser on the stroke of half time
Both sides had further chances in the first half, but Zaragoza probably deserved to go into the dressing room at half time on level terms, and it was thanks to Luis Suárez that they did; when Javi Ros played a delightful pass to slip the Colombian in behind, he produced a finish that was no less impressive, slamming the ball low to the goalkeeper's right.
Malaga weathered an early second half storm from Zaragoza, with Munir called upon to clear up after some pinball in the visitors' penalty box. The pattern of play in the second half was not dissimilar to the first, with Zaragoza controlling much of the play, but the visitors sought to break whenever they could and arguably looked the more likely to score. Juanpi came close with a deflected shot on 53 minutes, and a glanced header from the resulting corner was just too high to be nodded in at the far post.
The lead with minutes to spare
The two teams exchanged half-chances, and Sadiku came close to a second with around 15 minutes to go. Malaga then thought they had put themselves ahead, only for Renato Santos' goal to be chalked off for an earlier foul. Malaga did get their goal, however, ten minutes later, via a deft David Lombán header from a corner.
However, parity was restored, and the visiting fans silenced, less than two minutes later, by Raúl Guti. It was an oddly similar goal to Malaga's first; a low, hopeful cross drifted across the box, somehow evaded several defenders, and eventually fell to a grateful attacker who could hardly miss. One goal scored three minutes from the start, the other three from the end.
The visitors could easily have come away entirely empty-handed, as Real Madrid loanee Soro missed a gilt-edged chance to claim Zaragoza all three points in injury time, aiming a header wide all of three yards from the net.
A defeat would have been extremely harsh on Malaga, who were if anything the more impressive side on the night. There were signs of promise, but the Andalusians will have to start winning games soon if they want to escape the relegation zone.