Malaga remain in the drop zone despite a spirited late comeback against Elche at La Rosaleda on Sunday. After going 3-1 down, all seemed lost for Víctor Sánchez del Amo’s side, but two goals in the space of two minutes late in the second half turned the game on its head.
The hosts made five changes following the international break, welcoming back Munir, Keidi Bare, Juanpi and Mikel Villanueva and reistating Armando Sadiku up front after his injury lay-off.
With all these changes, however, Malaga needed some time to settle, but Elche were not in a charitable mood. The side from Valencia raced into the lead with a quickfire double. First, Fidel sent Munir the wrong way from the penalty spot after the Moroccan upended Josan in the penalty area with his outstretched leg.
Josan turned provider for Fidel once again just five minutes later when his low cross from the right was turned home from close range by the winger on the turn.
With half time approaching, Malaga needed a way back into the game and got it when Dani Pacheco’s smart volley punished Edgar Badía for his weak flap at Juanpi’s shot seconds previously.
The second half saw Malaga completely in control. Badía made ammends for his error with a spectacular reaction save to parry away a rocketed volley from the edge of the area from Sadiku.
However, as has been the pattern in recent weeks, Malaga’s possession was not converted into goals and Gonzalo Villar made them pay with a glancing header leaving Munir with no chance.
The atmosphere around La Rosaleda changed significantly. The optimism as the side looked for the equaliser gave way to resignation.
The players responded in much the same way but a bit of luck in the 79th minute swung the game back in their favour. When Villar lazily dangled his leg in Juankar’s path in the penalty area, Sadiku had a chance from the spot which he duly converted.
Suddenly La Rosaleda was rocking again and just two minutes later the comeback was complete. Mikel’s cross from the left found Antoñín in acres of space and the youngster powered his header into the roof of the net.
“This season is really proving to be a rollercoaster ride but this team is showing time and time again that it knows how to fight, despite the adversity were are facing,” said Víctor following the game.
“We improved a lot in our accuracy. We’re on the right path.”