surinenglish

A double from Luis Muñoz means salvation is almost in the bag for Malaga

Luis Muñoz celebrates after scoring his first goal.
Luis Muñoz celebrates after scoring his first goal. / Salvador Salas
  • Victory in the 'six-pointer' over Sabadell has moved the Blue and Whites ten points clear of the drop zone

This time Malaga got what their play deserved: a 2-0 victory at home to Sabadell on Sunday afternoon. After Mirandés snatched victory with their only shot on goal last time out, the Blue and Whites were determined not to suffer a repeat, even if they had to do so without their best player - Pablo Chavarría, who has been ruled out for the season.

This meant a change of shape from Sergio Pellicer, with the players deployed behind Caye Quintana expected to perform slightly different roles. One such player was defender-cum-midfielder Luis Muñoz who, at times, was playing as a false 9.

There was more onus too on wingers Joaquín Muñoz and Yanis Rahmani. After the hosts weathered an early storm, the former had his side's first chance, flashing the ball across the face of the goal from the ride-hand side. The French-Algerian on the other side then brought a good sprawling save out of Sabadell's Ian Mackay, before the keeper made an even better stop to tip a Caye Quintana header over the bar.

Pellicer had little to correct during the break and his side continued on the front foot in the second half and it was Luis Muñoz who eventually gave his side the lead, converting Joaquín's chipped cross to the back post with a powerful header.

Now behind, the onus was on Antonio Hidalgo's side to attack and attack they did. Malaga were put on the back foot and were thankful to holding midfielder Alberto Escassi and keeper Juan Soriano for keeping the onslaught at bay.

Deep in stoppage time came an opportunity to settle the nerves when the referee adjudged Luis Muñoz's to have been fouled in a 50-50 challenge in the area. The captain on the day stood up himself and slotted home the penalty to edge Malaga one step closer to safety.

"I congratulate the players for the step forward they have taken," Pellicer said after the game as they moved 10 points clear of the drop zone, leaving Sabadell to occupy the final relegation spot.

"There's still a long way to go, but today was very important. It was a 'six-pointer'. We've moved a step away from the relegation zone and we've improved our goal average. I'm extremely proud of the team."

Malaga take on another side close to the bottom of the table next Sunday when they travel to La Rioja to take on Logroñés (kick off 2pm).