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Álex Calvo about to fire the ball into the net for Malaga's equaliser. AGENCIA LOF
Debutant Álex Calvo rescues a point for Malaga CF on trip to the league leaders

Debutant Álex Calvo rescues a point for Malaga CF on trip to the league leaders

FOOTBALL ·

The 19-year-old scored the equaliser in the 86th minute, three minutes after coming onto the field

Sunday, 12 March 2023, 16:27

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It was a night to remember for Álex Calvo, the 19-year-old making his debut for Malaga CF. The young full-back ensured his side returned home from the Canaries with a point after his superb last-gasp equaliser sealed a 2-2 draw against league leaders Las Palmas on Saturday night.

Having come into this matchday 10 points from safety, Malaga would have held little hope of getting anything out of this game. And things went exactly to the script early on, when Julián Delmás handled the ball in the area in an action missed by practically everyone on the field - but not the VAR.

Veteran Las Palmas captain Jonathan Viera tucked the penalty away straight down the middle - a massive setback for the Blue and Whites after just four minutes.

With the hosts on the front foot, Pejiño could have doubled his side's lead with an instep shot from the right-hand side of the area, but keeper Rubén Yáñez got down quick to block.

A route back into the game

Then, practically out of nowhere, came Malaga's chance to get back into the game. Again, it was the VAR who intervened, deciding that Juande had been fouled by keeper Álvaro Valles as he rose to attempt to punch a hopeful long ball punted into his penalty area.

Having decided that the keeper had succeeded only in wiping out the Malaga defender, it was down to striker Fran Sol to take the spot-kick - and he did so with aplomb, sending the hapless keeper the wrong way.

Malaga could have gone in at the break with the lead had Fran Sol kept his composure just before half time. Instead, the forward volleyed Fran Villalba's perfectly weighted cross over the bar from barely six yards out.

With the scores level, the second half was cagey, with neither side seemingly willing to take any risks to break the deadlock. It became increasingly clear that something spectacular was required to get the go-ahead goal.

And so it proved. Pejiño, who was constantly a threat cutting in from the right, did exactly that, before unleashing a fearsome strike from 25 yards out. A goal worthy of winning any game.

Game-changing substitution

But then, in the 83rd minute, Malaga coach Sergio Pellicer brought Álex Calvo onto the field for his debut. At just 1.70 metres and with a thick mane of hair, the left-sider not only looked like a young Lionel Messi, but he channelled him too just minutes later.

After expertly controlling the ball, Calvo burst through the smallest of gaps between Álex Suárez and Eric Curbelo, leaving him free in front of goal to poke the ball through the legs of the keeper and ensure a share of the spoils at the Estadio de Gran Canaria.

After last week's setback against fellow strugglers Racing Santander, this point gives Malaga a slight glimmer of hope, albeit mostly in terms of a morale boost.

The Blue and Whites will still be 10 points adrift by the time Levante come to La Rosaleda on Friday night (kick-off 9pm).

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