Sunday, 12 November 2023, 20:49
For the second consecutive game, young Moroccan winger Haitam came to the rescue, helping Malaga CF to secure a 1-1 draw away at promotion rivals Ibiza on Sunday afternoon.
With seven key players missing for various reasons, the visitors, who came into the game trailing their hosts by two points, had to dig deep at Can Misses.
Despite the Blue and Whites being significantly weakened, Ibiza nonetheless showed their opponents respect in what was a very cagey first half with very few goal-scoring opportunities. In fact, Sergio Pellicer’s side even exhibited a degree of control, despite the lack of penalty-area action.
The closest either side came was when Ibiza keeper Patrick Sequeira spilled Jokin Gabilondo’s freekick, but Dioni, slightly impeded by former Malaga man Alberto Escassi, couldn't capitalise on the error.
The second half saw an increase in intensity, with more goal-scoring opportunities, and Ibiza, led by another ex-Malaga player, Álex Gallar, upped the pressure.
First, he drew a fine save from Alfonso Herrero, but then, when the midfielder got another chance, he finally opened the scoring in the 67th minute with a fine long-range effort.
Ibiza also had a goal by Patrick Soko controversially ruled out for offside.
Pellicer’s options off the bench were limited, but the introduction of Haitam two minutes after going behind proved crucial.
In the 72nd minute, the Moroccan scored a spectacular goal. Having received the ball on the right wing, he cut inside on his left foot before firing a fierce shot in off the underside of the crossbar.
The goal secured a valuable point for Malaga against a direct opponent and only served to highlight the resilience of the side who faced considerable challenges on the day.
The only bad news of the weekend was another victory for Castellón, who have now extended their lead at the top. They’re now six points above third-placed Malaga.
The Blue and Whites have a home match next: on Saturday they face struggling Alcoyano at La Rosaleda at 6pm.
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