A point with a bitter aftertaste

Alfred N'Diaye, left, is denied by a superb reaction save from Carlos Abad; Seleznov couldn't follow up on the rebound.
Alfred N'Diaye, left, is denied by a superb reaction save from Carlos Abad; Seleznov couldn't follow up on the rebound. / Valerio Merino
  • N'Diaye's last-minute equaliser spared Malaga's blushes in Saturday's Andalusian derby against an inferior Cordoba side battling the drop

  • Blanco Leschuk and Seleznov drew blanks once again as Muñiz's side's struggles in front of goal continue

Everyone wants it, but no one is letting it show. Promotion to the big time is worth millions of euros and, despite a dismal run of just one win in six matches, Malaga are still within touching distance of the top of the table.

It is testament to the strength of the division that none of the teams in the hunt for promotion seems capable of stringing together results and running away with the lead.

Malaga, who after Saturday's result have now drawn eight matches this season, certainly have had their opportunities. The Andalusian derby at El Arcángel on Saturday was no different.

Cordoba, who have just appointed Rafa Navarro as their new coach, may have had the famous 'new manager bounce', but Malaga had more than enough chances to win the game.

One player who wasn't there to take them was top scorer Adrián González who had to be withdrawn after just nine minutes through injury. Much like the team as a whole, his replacement, Erik Morán, simply wasn't up to speed and he was hooked off at half time following an opening 45 minutes in which the hosts carved out the only real opening.

That was when José Ángel Carrillo nipped in front of Luis Hernández, not quite up to speed after a long injury layoff, to get to a cross from the right wing before being upended. The referee, however, was in no mood to give a penalty despite the defender clipping at the forward's heels from behind.

Malaga coach Juan Ramón Muñiz may have shaken up his side's tactics at the break, but it was the hosts who drew first blood. Miguel de las Cuevas skilfully brought Jaime's low cross under his spell on the edge of the area, sitting Federico Ricca on his backside before firing the ball into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Munir.

Jack Harper, restored to a central area in the second half, almost laid on a goal for his struggling colleague Gustavo Blanco Leschuk as he nodded Luis Hernández's long ball into the Argentinian's path, only for his looping header to be cleared off the line by the defender with the keeper beaten.

The visitors continued to step on the gas and substitute Yevhen Seleznov missed a clear chance to level the scores after Alfred N'Diaye's header was spectacularly denied by Carlos Abad on the stretch, leaving the Ukrainian with all the goal to aim at. But, on his weaker foot, he could only direct his effort into the side netting.

The breakthrough did eventually come, deep into stoppage time, when the persistence of Javi Ontiveros, who came on at half time, paid off as the ball broke to Ricca, whose first-time cross was stroked home by N'Diaye on the edge of the box.

This was the least their performance deserved, said Muñiz following the game. "We had a lot of clear chances but we shouldn't get fixated on the lack of goals. We just need a lucky break and our fortunes in front of goal will change."