The Malaga players celebrate with Lago Junior after he opened the scoring. / Salvador Salas

Lago Junior helps Malaga to a draw on impressive full debut

The January signing from Mallorca put his new side ahead, but the Blue and Whites had to settle for a point against Burgos

Daryl Finch
DARYL FINCH

Malaga clawed the gap to safety back to four points after a respectable 1-1 draw with promotion-chasing Burgos at La Rosaleda on Saturday afternoon.

The home side, who suffered late heartbreak against leaders Eibar in the previous game week, started strong and were claiming an early penalty as Alfred N'Diaye was seemingly dragged to the ground inside the box. The referee, however, saw things differently.

1 Malaga

Lago Junior 43'

1 Burgos

Bermejo 63'

    New signing Lago Junior, who joined on a free from Real Mallorca earlier this month, was given his first start by Pepe Mel who returned to the dugout following his touchline ban.

    The 32-year-old winger looked lively from the get-go and had Malaga's first clear chance of the game after 16 minutes. After running onto a long ball and playing it into the path of Rubén Castro, the winger quickly received the ball back but his volley found only the arms of keeper José Caro.

    However, the Ivorian wasn't to be denied. Just as the half-time whistle was imminent, the ball broke to him just inside the penalty area from an unconvincing clearance, and he struck the ball into the back of the net on the volley.

    After the break, the high-flying visitors started to show more of the form that has got them into playoff contention this season. And it wasn't long until they were back in the game, with Álex Bermejo sweeping home Jesús Areso's cut-back from the right.

    This somewhat took the wind out of the hosts' sails, who failed to create any danger, barring a late header from Juande from a freekick swung in from the left with two minutes left to go.

    In fact, as it turned out, Malaga were lucky not to suffer a repeat of what occurred at Ipurúa. When Curro went through on goal in stoppage time, hearts were in mouths around La Rosaleda. But some brave keeping from Rubén Yáñez prevented Burgos from stealing the win at the death.

    Frustrated by the result, Mel told reporters: "I understand people's opinions, but I trust in my work and that of the players. I didn't see any half-hearted players or players who had given up out there today."