Malaga made to pay for defensive lapses at home yet again

A fine strike from Luis Muñoz briefly gave Malaga hope.
A fine strike from Luis Muñoz briefly gave Malaga hope. / Salvador Salas
  • Real Zaragoza made the most of slack marking to extend Malaga's winless run at La Rosaleda to three and a half months

It is now three and a half months since Malaga last won a game at home, with Real Zaragoza the latest team to take all three points from La Rosaleda on Sunday evening.

A poor defensive display from Sergio Pellicer's team cost them any chance of victory, with the visitors rarely required to exert themselves having taken the lead as a result of double lapse as early as the 11th minute. First, Juan Narváez escaped the attentions of Ismael Casas far too easily on the goalline before he was able to chip a cross to the middle of the area where James Igbekeme easily won a header against Alexander González.

A poorly executed offside trap nearly allowed Narváez to get on the scoresheet himself moments later but the forward remarkably missed the target in the one-on-one with keeper Juan Soriano.

Zaragoza, who came into the game with the worst away record in the division, doubled their lead just before half time when defender Carlos Vigaray, completely unmarked, headed home Sergio Bermejo's freekick from the right.

In search of a way back into the game, Pellicer altered Malaga's formation in the second half, ditching the back five which had struggled in the first half and brought on winger Joaquín Muñoz for a bit of added attacking impetus. However, with Zaragoza sitting on a comfortable two-goal lead, Malaga lacked the creativity to unlock the door.

A goal finally did come in the final ten minutes through an unlikely source. Holding midfielder Luis Muñoz unleashed a thunderbolt from 20 yards into the top corner to give his side hope. That, though, quickly evaporated when Pablo Chavarría's header sailed over the bar and with it all hope of a comeback.

"We lacked decisiveness," was Pellicer's post-match conclusion. "We didn't make the most of the spaces nor win enough second balls. We have to be more aggressive. The team can't concede the same number of goals in the second half of the season as we did the first."

Next up, Malaga travel to Gijón to take on Sporting on Sunday (kick off 9pm) - the last team the Blue and Whites beat at home.