Dani Pacheco rises to the occasion to gift Malaga a much-needed win

Dani Pacheco, right, scored the winning goal in Tarragona on Sunday.
Dani Pacheco, right, scored the winning goal in Tarragona on Sunday. / Agencia Lof
  • The winger's first goal for the club ended a run of four matches without a win

More than a month after their last win, Malaga fans were finally given something to cheer about as a second-half Dani Pacheco strike helped to see off Gimnàstic in Tarragona on Sunday evening.

After three draws and a defeat, Malaga coach Juan Ramón Muñiz opted to abandon the much-maligned 4-1-4-1 system and restored striker Jack Harper to the forward line in a much more attack-minded 4-4-2 in the absence of both Alfred N'Diaye and Munir, away on international duty.

Pawel Kieszek, minding goal in the absence of the latter, was kept busy on the day, making five saves and picking up the man-of-the-match award for his efforts. In the first half he was kept on his toes, first when Luis Suárez's effort was deflected just wide of the post, then when José Kanté's long-range effort, bound for the top corner, needed tipping around the post.

Despite fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table, the hosts made life difficult for their illustrious visitors who eventually grew into the game after the break.

Malaga almost took the lead early on through Gustavo Blanco Leschuk who turned neatly on the edge of the box before rattling the crossbar, as the Argentinian striker saw his goalless run extend to 20 games.

But it was another man on a barren run of his own that eventually got the breakthrough in the 73rd minute. Dani Pacheco, who had not netted since joining his boyhood club in the summer, may have to fight to claim this one as his shot from the edge of the box took an enormous deflection before nestling into the far corner, out of the reach of the outstretched Bernabé.

Cifu, Kieszek and Luis Hernández celebrate the win.

Cifu, Kieszek and Luis Hernández celebrate the win. / Agencia Lof

Filled with confidence, Pacheco had another go minutes later, from slightly closer in, but the keeper had no problems fisting it to safety.

By this stage, the visitors were firmly in the ascendency and had a goal chalked off for the luckless Blanco Leschuk who was penalised for handball when there was precious little he could have done to avoid it.

The win sees Malaga climb up to fourth, six points both from leaders Osasuna and to seventh-placed Mallorca.

Coach Muñiz was keen to highlight the "good work" of his team, while taking aim at the "pessimism" of Malaga as a city: "We are competing well but when we win 1-0, there are always people asking why we haven't scored three or four."

"We tend to look at things negatively here," he said following the game. "We have to show more appreciation and give some recognition for the good things that we are doing."