There was little for Víctor Sánchez del Amo to cheer on his return to the touchline as Malaga were defeated 1-0 in Alcorcón on Sunday.
Malaga's head coach has previously bemoaned the absence of an international break in the Segunda División; he will no doubt be feeling frustrated again this weekend after Keidi Bare, Munir, Juanpi and Mikel were all made unavailable by international commitments.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start, as an Alcorcón corner eight minutes into the encounter was redirected goalwards by David Fernández. Malaga’s stand-in debutant keeper Gonzalo was wrong-footed, and he couldn’t stop the ball bobbling into the corner of the net.
Malaga did little to trouble the hosts until a short-lived revival began around midway through the first half. First, a strike from Mohamed Benkhemassa was deflected narrowly wide, and then Antoñín came agonisingly close to connecting with a driven ball in from Juankar down the left.
Ultimately, though, the first half was not a high-quality affair, as Alcorcón were clearly not going to risk much in pursuit of a second, while Malaga didn’t show the requisite intensity or incisiveness to earn the equaliser.
The hosts’ decision to largely sit back on their lead did afford Malaga the better of the chances in the second half, and the quality of the visitors’ play did improve as the game wore on. Perhaps Malaga’s best chance arrived in the 58th minute, courtesy of a sumptuous cross from Juankar, but Antoñín could only head it over.
The youngster had another headed chance minutes later, but Alcorcón keeper Ximo Miralles dealt with the looping effort impressively, and produced an even better save to deal with Diego González’s bouncing header from the resulting corner.
It would be fair to say that Malaga created enough chances to merit a point from this encounter. However, as Víctor is always keen to emphasise, efficiency is the deciding factor in a low-scoring sport like football, and Malaga have been guilty of wasting chance after chance this season.
During Sunday’s game, Antoñín, Cifu, Dani Pacheco and Luis Muñoz were all wasteful with the ball in the final third and Malaga were not able to capitalise on the clear-cut occasions they did create.
With slightly better fortune, Malaga could have taken a point, or perhaps all three, from this encounter. The Blue and Whites now have just one point from their least three games - a run of games in which they haven’t scored once.
Luck doesn’t seem to be on the Andalusians’ side at the moment, and without it, they are completely at sea.