Wasteful Malaga fall to undeserved defeat in Almeria

Sadiq celebrates giving Almeria the lead on Sunday.
Sadiq celebrates giving Almeria the lead on Sunday. / Agencia Lof
  • The Blue and Whites lost the Derby of the Mediterranean to the in-form promotion chasers despite Joaquín levelling the scores just before half time

A lack of a clinical edge in front of goal cost Malaga on Sunday afternoon as they fell to an undeserved 3-1 defeat away to Almeria.

An early injury to wing-back Iván Calero saw Malaga coach Sergio Pellicer forced to shuffle his pack with the introduction of Mohamed Benkhemassa and it was the Algerian's error in the middle of the park which gifted Almeria the go-ahead goal.

Benkhemassa's loose sideways pass gave possession to Fran Villalba in a dangerous area and he fed in Sadiq who put his side ahead after just 11 minutes.

The hosts could have doubled their lead soon after but Malaga keeper Dani Barrio got down low to palm away Ager Aketxe's effort from the edge of the area.

Despite the early onslaught from the in-form team (10 wins from their last 12 games), the visitors grew into the game and improved with every passing minute. This culminated in the equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Ismael Casas robbed Villalba of the ball before Caye Quintana fed in Joaquín Muñoz to slot the ball into the far corner from a tight angle.

Malaga continued to attack in the second half but subsitute keeper Fernando (on for the injured Giorgi Makaridze after 30 minutes) played a key role in keeping them at bay. He denied Joaquín on three occasions, as well as producing a fine save to deny Ramón.

This inability to take their chances cost Malaga in the 78th minute when Almeria's Nikola Maraš headed home Nottingham Forest loanee João Carvalho's cross from the right.

And just to rub salt in the wounds, Almeria bagged a third in stoppage time, again from a cross from the right, this time controlled and finished by substitute Largie Ramazani.