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Record-breaking Rubén Castro celebrates one of his two goals on Monday night. Ñito Salas
Floodgates open for Malaga CF who finally record a win

Floodgates open for Malaga CF who finally record a win

FOOTBALL ·

Striker Rubén Castro made himself the top Spanish goalscorer in La Liga history with a brace that secured Sergio Pellicer's first win since returning as coach

Daryl Finch

Malaga

Tuesday, 21 February 2023, 07:58

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It's been a long time coming, but Malaga CF finally returned to winning ways in front of a jubilant home crowd on Monday night, beating relegation rivals Real Zaragoza by three goals to nil.

The Blue and Whites may still be five points from safety, but this win - the first under returning head coach Sergio Pellicer and their first overall since 18 December - will give the side plenty of reasons for optimism. Having only scored 21 goals in the previous 27 games, to score three in one night is certainly motive for celebration.

Another is the clean sheet. The home side had to be on their toes in the first half, with both former Manchester United winger Bebé and Giuliano Simeone, son of Diego, both proving to be thorns in Malaga's side.

Keeper Rubén Yáñez had to be sharp to deny the former on a number of occasions, while defender Jonas Ramalho was called upon to make an excellent sliding block on the line from the latter, after he had rounded the keeper.

Nonetheless, Malaga had ridden the storm and the introduction of veteran striker Rubén Castro at half time changed the game in their favour.

Half time changes

The 41-year-old showed his goal-scoring instincts almost immediately, sliding to connect with Fran Villalba's deep cross to the far post to open the scoring.

Winger Lago Junior, who had been mostly a passenger in the game, then made his mark. Cutting in from the left wing in the 75th minute, the Ivorian unleashed a fierce effort in off the far post to double his side's advantage.

Just seven minutes later, the fans who have had to endure so much misery this season couldn't believe their eyes: Rubén Castro made it three with a delicious goal worthy of winning any game.

Álex Gallar's incisive through ball was excellent, bettered only by the striker's perfectly timed his run and then first-time chip over a stranded Cristian Álvarez in the Zaragoza goal.

Rubén Castro: a history-maker

This goal, his 285th between Primera and Segunda, moved the striker into the history books. Rubén Castro is now the highest-scoring Spaniard in La Liga history, overtaking the legendary Quini. Now he only has Lionel Messi (474) and Cristiano Ronaldo (311) ahead of him.

«I'd been struggling a bit lately and I hadn't scored for a long time, even though I was getting chances. Today that changed; I took both chances and now it's a massive weight off my shoulders,» Rubén Castro said following the game.

Could this now be a turning point for Malaga's season?

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