Efficient Malaga get off to a winning start at home

The players rush to celebrate with Cristian.
The players rush to celebrate with Cristian. / Salvador Salas
  • Cristian's first goal for the club made it two wins on the bounce for the Blue and Whites at La Rosaleda on Saturday evening

The three points were Malaga's on Saturday evening as they returned to La Rosaleda for the first time since the summer break for the visit of Alcorcón.

As is often the case in Segunda, there was just one goal in it; Cristian's superb volley from the edge of the box - his side's only effort on target during the whole game - sealed a win which, despite the lack of efforts on goal, never seemed in doubt.

Coach Sergio Pellicer made significant tactical changes to his side, fielding a 4-4-2 rarely seen during his spell in charge, with both Orlando Sá and Caye Quintana leading the line. This, however, completely nullified Alcorcón's threat with the Madrid side unable to get their most creative players on the ball and rarely getting near Dani Barrio's goal.

The only chance the visitors had in the first half came from attacking midfielder Óscar Arribas whose shot from 25 yards out threatened to catch the Malaga keeper out but Barrio was ultimately able to fist the ball away in unorthodox fashion.

Malaga grew into game as the first half wore on and their opening came just before half time when Cristian, coming in off the right, was picked out by José Matos' inch-perfect cross from the left, volleying his effort in off the inside of the left-hand post.

Trailling, the visitors were on the front foot during the second half but could only muster two half chances. The first saw Iván Barbero head a cross from the right well over the bar while Samuel Sosa's freekick was hit straight down Barrio's throat and the keeper was able to hold on.

What's more, Alcorcón's hopes of an equaliser were further hampered in the closing stages when Richard Boateng received his second yellow card.

"To get six points from the first three games is fantastic for us," said Pellicer following the game.

"When the team gives everything, no one can criticise us. You can see we have a solid [defensive] block but to get there you have to work very hard so the credit goes to the players, to everyone.

"The group is getting stronger. But nobody can afford to relax. We have 24 hours to celebrate, then on to prepare for the Rayo game [on Saturday].

This sentiment was echoed by match-winner Cristian: "We're forming a family; we understand the situation we're in, and we fight every day. Very few teams are going to beat us; we'll give it our all, with humility and with our feet on the ground. We know the season is very long."