Sadiku spares Munir's blushes as Malaga return to action with a draw

The Malaga players celebrate Sadiku's second-half equaliser.
The Malaga players celebrate Sadiku's second-half equaliser. / Agencia LOF
  • VAR played an important role as the Blue and Whites came back from a goal down in Oviedo in their first game after the winter break

A new year but the same struggles in front of goal for Malaga. The Blue and Whites got 2020 under way with a 1-1 draw away to Real Oviedo on Sunday night after VAR came to the side's rescue with a belatedly awarded second-half penalty.

Striker Armando Sadiku stepped up to tuck away his side's first goal away from home since 20 October - the 2-0 win against fellow strugglers Deportivo La Coruña.

In what was a game of few opportunities and which had all the quality of a bottom of the table scrap, both sides would require help to break the deadlock.

Oviedo took the lead in the 26th minute after Marco Sangalli skipped through the midfield unopposed before his tame effort squirmed its way into the Malaga net as keeper Munir misjudged the flight of the ball and allowed it to pass beneath his body.

As has been the case in the majority of fixtures this season, Malaga bossed the possession but had very little to show for it going into the break.

After the restart, however, the away side looked energised and thought they had the equaliser when Mikel looped Keidi Bare's cross over the keeper with a superb header, only to be ruled offside.

The breakthrough eventually came in the 67th minute after a lengthy VAR check adjudged Oviedo debutant Javi Mier to have blocked Dani Pacheco's free-kick with his arm. Sadiku stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to bag his eighth goal of the season.

Malaga were again appealing for a penalty in stoppage time when Antoñín's goalbound strike seemed to hit the arm of Christian Fernández but on this occasion fortune favoured the hosts.

"The feeling is that we had chances to win the game, but in the end the only thing that counts is that the ball goes in. It's a draw that, given the circumstances, we're proud of. I try to see the positive side of things," said right-back Cifu following the game.

Coach Víctor Sánchez del Amo concurred: "[I'm] satisfied with the players' game. Getting points on the board is always positive and this draw is enough for us to have the better goal average over Oviedo.

"We competed well on a pitch which was in a bad state. We played good football during the 90 minutes. The team had the personality to play from the back, looking for combinations. To do that after going behind is not easy."