Second-half goals from Jonas and Tony Sanabria ensured Real Betis completed a league double over Malaga at La Rosaleda on Tuesday night.
Pablo Fornals had initially given the Blue and Whites the lead five minutes before half time after a mistake from Alin Toşca, however defensive failings would once again be Malaga’s downfall as Betis came back to condemn the hosts to their 10th defeat in La Liga this season.
Malaga’s started slowly and Betis looked to capitalise right from the start, but Pardo’s effort three minutes in from Álex Martínez’s cut-back was hit straight at Carlos Kameni. Malaga’s passing was extremely sloppy against a side with a resolute and organised defence, with the hosts’ best chance of scoring looking likely from Luis Hernández’s long throw-ins.
A chance came from such a set piece in the sixth minute, but Camacho’s header was expertly tipped over the bar by Adán. Both teams struggled for fluency afterwards and were limited to long-range efforts, with Fornals and Chory not really troubling the Betis keeper with theirs. However, six minutes before half time, Malaga got the break through courtesy of a fatally underweight backpass from Toşca, which slipped in Pablo Fornals, who calmly slotted home at the near post.
Betis were forced to try and respond before the break, and of all people it was Martínez who the two chances fell to, but he slashed his first one wide before blazing a volley over from a corner a minute later.
Nevertheless, three minutes after the interval the visitors were on level terms. Darko Brašanac cleverly turned a very sloppy Ignacio Camacho, before threading a lovely ball through to the onrushing Jonas Martin, who clipped the ball into the far corner.
Betis were now enjoying the lion’s share of possession and were really proving to be a threat down the left as Álex Martínez’s stock continues to grow. Marcelo Romero reacted by sending Jony on for the ineffective Keko, who delivered a very different performance from the one the fans saw from him last Monday.
The 25-year old substitute’s impact was notable, and just have the hour mark he had an effort deflected behind for a corner as he attempted to drive Malaga’s attempts to regain the lead. The resulting set piece produced another chance, but Ignacio Camacho failed to keep his composure and blazed over.
Betis’ early second-half dominance was on the wane, and it nearly coincided with Malaga retaking the lead in the 72nd minute. Substitute Javi Ontiveros’ run eventually made its way to Jony at the back post, but he unnecessarily cut inside onto his right foot and then scuffed his shot with his weaker foot.
It was a glorious opportunity which the Blue and Whites would rue a minute later when a misplaced header from Martín Demichelis fell perfectly for former Barcelona B and Roma striker Tony Sanabria, whose finished mirrored that of Jonas’ earlier in the half as he dinked it over Kameni who had once again premeditated and gone to ground too early.
Marcelo Romero would have been hoping for at least one more golden opportunity, and it arrived with just over ten minutes to go. Sadly, Charles failed to hit the target with his right-foot effort after Jony’s excellent work and cross from the left-hand side.
The winger’s display was a huge improvement on the proceedings on the left-hand side following a rather poor performance from Chory Castro, and his runs produced a series of corners for the hosts. Two more chances to equalise came as a result of the corners, but Malaga’s third and final substitute Youssef En-Nesyri headed over and Demichelis smashed his left-footed effort straight at former Real Madrid keeper Adán.
Marcelo Romero’s men pushed to the very final second, but a lack of precision in attack proved to be their nemesis once again as they suffered their second defeat in four days.