Malaga debutant Caye Quintana is fouled.
Malaga debutant Caye Quintana is fouled. / Agencia Lof

Malaga fall to defeat in their most unusual start to a new season

  • Only three familiar faces started Sunday's clash in Tenerife and it showed on the pitch as Pellicer's side lacked fluidity

Malaga's most atypical start to the season had a certain familiarity about it as Sergio Pellicer's side fell to an unconvincing 2-0 defeat in Tenerife on Sunday night.

Fans didn't quite know what to expect when the teamsheets dropped barely ten minutes before kick-off. Only Tete Morente and youth defenders Juande and Ismael Casas - the latter named the youngest captain in the club's history - remained from last season and new signings Dani Barrio, Alberto Escassi, Iván Calero, Yanis Rahmani, Cristian Rodríguez and Caye Quintana were all given starts for the side's trip to the Canaries.

To say the players are still strangers to one another is no understatement and it looked the case on the field as the visitors struggled to find any fluency in attack with their deep-lying back five seemingly kilometres away from their new-look front three.

Rahmani, who was unable to use his pace to much effect, had Malaga's best chance in the first half, swinging his leg at a cut back to the far post but unable to adjust his body quick enough to wrap his foot around it.

Tenerife, by contrast, knew that they had to be patient to find openings in Malaga's deep block and one finally came just before half time when Javier Alonso's expert flick with his back to goal left Suso Santana, with Calero playing him onside, clean through and with the simple task of volleying past Dani Barrio.

Malaga could consider themselves hard done by in this instance, but poor defending just ten minutes after the restart allowed the hosts to double their lead. A succession of errors eventually saw Jacobo González played through on the inside right, sneaking in behind the inexperienced Alejandro Benítez before finishing in the one-on-one.

This proved to be Benítez's last involvement. He was hooked in favour of another debutant, Orlando Sá, with the Blue and Whites, donning purple and green, going much more direct in a 4-4-2 in the search of a goal.

The best chance came from a Rahmani set piece but Juande was unable to hook his volley inside the near post.

Pellicer, visibly irritated in his post-match press conference, said that he was disappointed with his team's defensive lapses because "they came from scenarios that we spoke about".

"We want to compete in the best way possible," he told the press. "We're all trying very hard," he said, but admitted that with only 12 professionals available to him, it was always going to be difficult.

"We hope that by the time we play Castellón [on Friday] that this can be all sorted."