Malaga have been left glancing nervously over their shoulder after yet another draw, this time at Numancia last Friday night.
The hosts were dominant in the first half, and it was only due to their poor finishing that Malaga were still in the encounter after ten minutes;Nacho spurned two excellent chances, and Moha another.
Malaga's prospects were looking dire, as Numancia frequently bypassed Keidi, Malaga’s only defensive midfielder on the day. Things went from bad to worse when David Lombán was yet again forced off with injury with less than 20 minutes gone, with Diego González replacing the Asturian.
The hosts were unable to keep up the pressure, however, and the Blue and Whites eased their way back into the encounter, Armando Sadiku stinging the goalkeeper’s palms with a well-struck left-footed effort from distance. Dani Pacheco also had a chance, and later thought he had scored, only for his goal to be ruled out by VAR due to a previous offside.
After the interval, which Malaga coach Víctor took advantage of by bringing on Mohamed Benkhemassa in place of Luis Muñoz, the rhythm of the game slowed considerably, with no real goalmouth action in the opening stages. Malaga gathered momentum, however, and began to create some decent chances, often looking dangerous on the break.
Pacheco had another chance, but his left-footed effort was inaccurate, while a Sadiku header sent Antoñín racing through on goal, only for an excellent last-ditch challenge from Héctor Hernández to deny him the chance to score. Neither side ultimately found the finishing touch, and both will be left rueing opportunities wasted.
Despite his side not having tasted victory in their last five fixtures, Víctor insisted that he was not worried by the situation. “It was a game of two halves. We got lucky in the first. We weren’t good enough and we’ve got to recognise that. We got better in the second half, because we started pushing into attacking areas and we were more confident in our midfield play. There were a couple of good chances, and we just needed to be more ruthless in order to take all three points.”
“We only have one centre forward in the squad, which makes it tougher to finish our chances. But if you keep creating chances, then the wins will start coming eventually.”
The Malaga coach was also keen to emphasise the importance of the fans: “The supporters are behind us no matter what, and that’s fundamental to our work. We’re so grateful to have fans like this, and a lot of the points we have are due to them.”
Malaga now sit 19th in the table, only one point off safety, after Oviedo beat Rayo Vallecano to leapfrog the Andalusians into 18th place. Their next fixture is another Friday night encounter, when they face fellow strugglers Tenerife at 9pm on 6 December.