Much-improved Malaga pick up a point in new boss's first match in charge

En-Nesyri celebrates bringing Malaga's barren run in front of goal to an end.
En-Nesyri celebrates bringing Malaga's barren run in front of goal to an end. / Agencies
  • José González was in the dug-out as the Blue and Whites drew with high-flying Eibar

The new era at Malaga got off to a good start as the side picked up a point from a difficult trip to the Basque Country where they took on high-flying Eibar in the rain on Monday night.

Surprisingly, the new boss repeated the same starting XI as his successor from the previous match day but with a different shape: José Recio in support of frontman Youssef En-Nesyri.

The latter enjoyed much greater support than he did on that fateful night in Madrid. He didn’t need it, however, in the 16th minute when he intercepted Ander Capa’s poor pass on the half-way line before sprinting towards goal and slotting underneath Marko Dmitrovic between the sticks – Malaga’s first goal since 10 December in the 2-0 win away to Real Sociedad.

The Moroccan then found himself in a similar position later in the half could only drag his shot across goal under pressure.

It was the visitors who continued to look the more likely to score as the half progressed with former Eibar winger Keko firing a shot just beyond the post after the ball broke to him following a corner kick.

In what could have been an exact repeat of En-Nesyri’s goal in the opening stages of the second half, Adrián González fired straight at the keeper when he had all the time in the world. Chory Castro should have done much better on the rebound but lifted the ball into row Z.

While a lot of positives could be taken from the new coach's first game in charge, some things will need a little more work on the training ground to iron out. After 75 minutes, Eibar grabbed an equaliser courtesy of yet another defensive error: Roberto Rosales miskicked his clearance before deflecting substitute Bebé’s low cross into a position from which Kike couldn’t miss. Malaga had shot themselves in the foot once again.

Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who came on for Recio in the 83rd minute, managed to make it a nervy finish for Malaga when he picked up two yellow cards in the space of a minute in stoppage time, just as his side where threatening a winner with both Manuel Iturra and Alex Mula coming close in the 91st minute.

A draw ends Malaga’s four-match losing streak – a period in which the side hadn’t scored a goal and which ultimately cost Míchel his job.