Last-gasp equaliser robs Malaga of their festive cheer

Carlos Pita's inch-perfect free-kick nestled into the top corner of Munir's goal.
Carlos Pita's inch-perfect free-kick nestled into the top corner of Munir's goal. / Salvador Salas
  • With the last kick of the game, Carlos Pita earned an unlikely point for Lugo as Segunda takes its winter break

The whistles disappeared and the only sound was the elated cries of the away team. Carlos Pita had just curled an impeccable free kick into Munir's net after 12 minutes of injury time, earning Lugo a point and depriving Malaga of two.

The visitors didn't even bring any fans to the Costa del Sol; there were no red and white shirts bouncing up and down in the corner of the stadium, just a stunned silence that had descended over La Rosaleda on Saturday evening.

While Malaga's performance was far from vintage, they certainly could have ended an uninspired Lugo's hopes of a draw well before the equaliser finally came with the last kick of the game.

It was a match in which they went ahead early, with the in-form Armando Sadiku improvising an excellent finish to fire Renato Santos' near-post cross into the net.

Sadiku thought he had a second after he had thumped the ball into the roof of the net following impressive play by Luis Muñoz; the linesman, however, raised his flag.

The Albanian was involved again minutes later, as he ran onto a ball from Dani Pacheco and crossed for Renato Santos, who would have tapped into an empty net but for some determined defending from the visitors.

This was just one of a host of opportunities that the home side created but were unable to take in the first half. The game stagnated in the second, with one of the most notable incidents being the injury of the linesman, who was stretchered off after a bizarre collision with Lugo's Marcelo Djaló. One young fan made use of stoppage to get onto the pitch and take a picture with Munir; the security guards waited patiently before escorting him off the pitch, with the fan blowing kisses to the crowd.

Malaga had further chances to kill the game off in the last 10 minutes, but the likes of Antoñín and Juankar failed to take them.

The fans groaned when the board went up to indicate 10 minutes of added time, but as the clock ticked, they must have begun to think that Lugo's chance would never come. With the last kick of the game, it did.

Malaga coach Víctor Sánchez del Amo was again left to lament his side's lack of ruthlessness. "We're annoyed that we finished a really good first half with only one goal, especially as we had such a good chance on the break. We let them off the hook."

Nevertheless, he insisted that his side wouldn't be missing these two points dropped come the end of the season.

Víctor also claimed to be optimistic about the club's prospects going into the January transfer window: "We're working on it. The idea is not only to strengthen our attacking options, but also to strengthen another position.

"The players are making a great effort to compete with what we have, you can't fault them, but we need reinforcements if we want to improve."

Saturday's draw leaves Malaga in 16th place and only one point off the relegation zone going into the winter break. The same day, Extremadura beat Sporting Gijón to put themselves within a point of Víctor's side. Luckily for Malaga, most of their other relegation rivals lost or drew this weekend, meaning the two points they dropped are not as consequential as they might have been.

Their next game is a trip to 17th-placed Oviedo on 5 January in a game which will have serious consequences in the relegation battle.