Malaga CF got their league campaign under way with a defeat, as they narrowly lost 1-0 away to Burgos on Sunday night. The Blue and Whites were no match for their hosts, who had control of most of the match and whose goalkeeper put on a fantastic performance.
Head coach Pablo Guede put into practise the 3-5-2 formation that he trialled throughout the pre-season period, while also starting eight of the club's new summer transfers, including star signing Rubén Castro in attack.
Burgos had sussed Malaga's game plan from the start and the hosts knew to block Jozabed and Febas from receiving the ball. This meant that the Andalusians were too predictable for the first hour of play and their long spells of possession hindered the build up to their attacks.
The hosts also took advantage of the Blue and Whites' slowness, were much quicker on the counter-attack and they were superior in midfield, causing plenty of anxiety for the visitors.
Guede sought to change the situation by bringing the defence and midfield closer together when playing the ball out from the back, and it worked.
Jozabed and Febas finally started getting involved and, similarly to the friendly against Granada, the latter connected with Rubén Castro in the Burgos box to give way to what was the best chance of the first half, with goalkeeper Caro pulling off a great save to deny Malaga the opening goal.
Due to striker Fran Sol picking up an injury, Guede switched to a three-man attack for the second half, with both sides fielding an equal formation. Malaga attempted to open the scoring, but it wasn't long before the team started to suffer.
The changes didn't have the desired effect and, instead, Burgos performed better. The Blue and Whites were making mistakes in the areas that the hosts dominated.
With half an hour left, the match's first and only goal came from a misunderstanding between Juanfran and goalkeeper Manolo Reina, who didn't commit to coming off his line to catch a floated cross.
Instead, Reina left his goal largely unoccupied for Burgos striker Artola to comfortably head in the opener.
Guede once again tried to shake things up in the hopes of equalising, reverting to a more classic four-man defence, but the home side were too comfortable and soaked up the pressure, with their goalkeeper making more crucial saves to deny Rubén Castro.
In the end, Malaga showed some positives in the league opener, but a lot of work has yet to be done if they want to aspire to promotion, though there is little room for error in the second division. The Blue and Whites will next play against Las Palmas in their first home game of the season on Monday 22 August at 10pm.