Juan Rivas after Malaga's defeat at Cartagena. /PASCU MENDEZ/SUR

Juan Rivas after Malaga's defeat at Cartagena. / PASCU MENDEZ/SUR

A lost Malaga defeated on the road, again

With no hunger or control, the Blue and Whites were bettered by a superior Cartagena

SERGIO CORTÉS

José Alberto's Malaga side returned from the road on Sunday emptyhanded, suffering yet another defeat, this time to Cartagena, continuing their bad form away from home and not winning outside La Rosaleda.

The Blue and Whites showed no ambition in Sunday's game. Some players lacked in every department, which singled them out to eagle-eyed fans, aided by a stubborn manager who seems unwilling to change his formation, instead filling in the gaps with whoever is available.

Granted, José Alberto shuffled some men around, namely Brandon and Escassi, as was probable after a busy week with three matches. But the changes made little to no effect. Wingers Brandon and Antoñín failed to connect with their respective full-backs while in attack and in the first half Malaga were at the mercy of their hosts.

On the contrary, Cartagena, who played the same 4-2-3-1 formation that the visitors were using, did manage to strike up a connection between their men on the wing.

Malaga's half-hearted pressure, which is usually much higher and better, made it easy for the hosts to play out from the back, through the middle and with all attacking players involved.

The first half seemed poised to end goalless, although Cartagena did do more than enough to deserve the lead. Then, with only a few minutes of the first 45 to go, the hosts managed to get a somewhat questionable penalty in their favour, which Rubén Castro easily converted to put his side ahead.

José Alberto then brought Brandon on for Kevin at the break to shake things up, restructuring Malaga's line-up, with Paulino returning to his usual right-wing position.

But within ten minutes, and before the Blanquiazules had time to take advantage of the change, Cartagena doubled their lead with a header through another defensive mishap on Malaga's part.

The La Rosaleda outfit then made an immediate triple subsitution, bringing on two strikers, Sekou and Jozabed, and Cufre at left-back, despite the problem existing in midfield and where no changes were made until 10 minutes from the end.

At this point Malaga were broken and completely lacking in concentration, eventually gifting Cartagena a free-kick on the edge of the box. Rubén Castro converted it and bagged his brace.

The visitors could not sink any lower, and after their hosts took off their best players, they slightly improved as they had nothing to play for. Peybernes managed a consolation goal in the 82nd minute and Malaga had chances to score a couple more, but it was just papering over some very big cracks.

The next game for the Blanquiazules is at La Rosaleda on Monday at 9pm, where they'll face a high-flying Tenerife team that has the second best away record in the division.