Blanco Leschuk inspires comeback win

Blanco Leschuk celebrates scoring the equalising goal.
Blanco Leschuk celebrates scoring the equalising goal. / Salvador Salas
  • A brace from the Argentinian forward helped Malaga to victory against a resilient Albacete side

Argentinian forward Gustavo Blanco Leschuk was the hero last Friday as Malaga overturned a one-goal deficit to beat Albacete at La Rosaleda.

Malaga coach Juan Ramón Muñiz was obliged to make two changes to his starting eleven for the match with both goalkeeper Munir and midfield enforcer Alfred N'Diaye called up to represent Morocco and Senegal, respectively. In came Pawel Kieszek and Mehdi Lacen, while Juanpi retained his place for the third game in a row.

The Venezuelan was bright as both he and Dani Pacheco interchanged in the space behind the frontline. This left plenty of space on the flanks for overlapping full-backs, Federico Ricca and Iván Rodríguez.

It was the latter who had the hosts' first chance, prodding the ball wide of the far post after his first effort was blocked by the Nicolás Gorosito who was later withdrawn with an injury.

Jack Harper then came close as he made the most of a pass from Juanpi which forced the Scotsman wider than he would have hoped, ulitmately dragging the shot across the face of the goal.

Despite these chances, the visitors proved to be very hard to break down with their strength lying in their organisation and ability to close off the passing channels into the final third.

Adrián almost learned this to his cost as he got caught in possession in the middle of the park while searching for a forward pass and Eugeni brought the first save out of Kieszek.

Malaga's frustration continued into the second half, especially when Albacete won a penalty after Pau Torres clumsily upended Roman Zozulya who was only headed down an alley with no escape, minutes after Iván got away with an almost identical challenge on Febas. Kieszek guessed right, but Jérémie Bela got too much purchase on his strike and gave the Clockwork Cheeses a deserved lead - the first goal conceded by Malaga at La Rosaleda this season.

Muñiz acted quickly and injected width into his side with the introductions of Javi Ontiveros and Hicham, keeping Juanpi on the field in a deeper role previously filled by Lacen.

Ontiveros, once more, produced the goods for Malaga: his corner was flicked on at the near post by Adrián who found an unmarked Blanco Leschuk at the back post to slide home the equaliser just six minutes after his side went behind.

Strength in wide areas certainly proved to be the key to unlocking the stubborn Albacete defence. With Hicham on the right attracting attention, room opened up for Iván three minutes later to send the ball into a crowded six-yard box where a combination of keeper and defender only succeeded in bundling the ball towards Blanco Leschuk who threw himself at the ball to head into an empty net.

Despite there still being 25 minutes left to play, the sensation was always that the game was over. The visitors, having expended a lot of energy, had little more to give while Malaga slipped into cruise control.

Ontiveros could have extended his side's lead with a solo run and shot which rebounded off the crossbar, but Blanco Leschuk's double was enough to earn all three points - not for the first time since joining the club. The forward's four goals so far have all been decisive, earning nine points for the club in the process.

Malaga now sit top of the league on 22 points, already two more than in the entirety of last season when they were relegated from La Liga.