Refereeing decisions cost Malaga who lose ground in promotion push

The players surround the referee after he showed red to Keidi Bare for his second yellow card.
The players surround the referee after he showed red to Keidi Bare for his second yellow card. / Ñito Salas
  • The hosts were left feeling aggrieved after two first-half goals were controversially chalked off before Keidi Bare saw red during Sunday's goalless draw against Las Palmas at La Rosaleda

Malaga lost ground on their promotion rivals on Sunday after a controversy-packed goalless draw against Las Palmas at La Rosaleda on Sunday evening.

The hosts had two goals disallowed in the first half before being reduced to ten men in the second half after midfielder Keidi Bare picked up his second yellow card of the match.

It was the Albanian who looked to have given his side the lead in the opening minutes when he tucked in debutant Iván Alejo's low cross from the right, only for the linesman to judge Alejo to have been offside - when replays showed there were centimetres in it at most.

Gustavo Blanco Leschuk, who continues to lead the line despite his now 14-match goal drought, almost got his lucky break when his mishit cross from close to the corner flag sent Raúl Fernández backpedalling before the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar and to safety.

However, fortune was clearly not on his side on the night as he was penalised for holding his man in the area as Adrián volleyed home Keidi's corner behind him. As a result, it remained 0-0 at half time, with the visitors not creating a single chance of note in the entirety of the first half, barring a Rubén Castro freekick blasted into the stand.

That threatened to change 15 minutes after the restart when Malaga went down to ten men as Keidi picked up a second yellow after his elbow collided with Cala as he jumped to challenge for the header.

The scores on that front were quickly evened up, though, when Deivid received a straight red card after scything down Alejo with a rash challenge in the 72rd minute.

This prompted the immediate introduction of Jack Harper, back from suspension, as well as that of Yevhen Seleznov seven minutes later, as coach Juan Ramón Muñiz sensed that the three points were about to slip away from his team.

However, barring a long diagonal to Seleznov which the keeper swatted away before the Ukrainian could apply the finishing touch, the hosts were unable to carve out any meaningful opening.

"Draws are draws, but some leave a different taste in the mouth than others," said Muñiz in his post-match press conference, in reference to the refereeing decisions that cost his team. "The best we can do is keep our mouths shut."

The Blue and Whites have now fallen to fourth, three points off leaders Albacete, ahead of Sunday's trip to Madrid to take on Rayo Majadahonda.