Malaga remain without a much-needed league win to ease their relegation worries, picking up just one point for the third game running after a goalless draw with Lugo in Galicia on Tuesday evening.
Sergio Pellicer’s team sparked into life early in the second half with efforts from Armando Sadiku and Cifu, but lacked the attacking sharpness needed to win.
Neither team forged a clear opportunity in a disjointed opening, with each side’s lack of confidence apparent after some underwhelming recent results.
Malaga escaped an early setback, however, when the referee dismissed calls for a penalty after Lugo forward Yanis Rahmani fell to the ground under the pressure of Juande on the edge of the box.
Soon after, Malaga launched their first attack when the lively Hicham – replaced by Renato Santos in the 23th minute because of injury – saw his shot deflect upwards before being gathered by keeper Ander Cantero.
Lugo, positioned 20th and at risk of relegation, created their first chance when Vasyl Kravets’ deep cross reached Gerard Valentín, but he couldn’t trouble direct his header on goal.
Malaga ended the half the strongest. First, David Lombán produced the first clear shot on target of the game with a powerful free kick stopped by Cantero, before striker Sadiku nearly reached a Juankar cross which was well cleared by defender Josete.
More chances arrived after half time, first through Malaga’s Renato whose effort was straight at the keeper and then Cifu who forced another save after a nice run forward.
Midway through the second period, Sadiku – the only Malaga player to score since the season restart (two in four games) – went close with a powerful shot and then a header which glanced past the post following Renato’ accurate delivery.
As for Lugo, their best chance came when Mauritanian Moctar Sidi El Hacen swept narrowly wide after connecting with a low ball in from the left-hand side.
Keidi Bare, back from suspension for Malaga, was next to test Cantero after firing a low drive from outside the area.
Lugo searched for an injury-time winner, with José Ángel Carrillo's saved attempt their first on target in the match, which concluded a point apiece.