The best version of Malaga reappeared in the Canary Islands as they defeated fourth-placed Tenerife 2-0. The Blue and Whites executed their head coach Pablo Guede's gameplan to perfection to seal three points, with the team now just one win away from securing their place in the second division for next season.
Malaga were superior in every aspect against their hosts, and they didn't seem to stutter at any moment. Goalkeeper Dani Martín's performance was crucial, and each player's efforts to deny Tenerife's advances were noticed.
The Blue and Whites would wasted no time in scoring, breaking the deadlock in the 8th minute. Ismael Casas, who before the game was expected to be replaced by Víctor Gómez, put in a perfect cross which Vadillo smashed home with a header.
The Malaga players' movement could have generated even more chances, but they were too imprecise and got ahead of themselves too often.
The Andalusians' first half defensive plan worked to perfection, with the only hiccup coming in the 47th minute, as Dani Martín saved a point-blank shot. Other than that, Malaga held their own by keeping long spells of possession with the ball.
Guede didn't want to take any risks and took off Víctor Olmo, who had been booked. Malaga once again got the second half off to a frenetic start, and before Tenerife could implement their changes, their visitors had scored a second. Luis Muñoz, back from his seven-month spell on the sidelines, took a shot after some brilliant joined-up play but was denied, however Febas slotted home the rebound to double Malaga's lead.
The Blue and Whites didn't stray away from the script: they played the ball out from the back, and players moved around to create space. This gave them yet another chance to score, but Casas' shot hit the post.
That prompted Tenerife to make a triple substitution, and the game changed completely. Malaga were now on the backfoot for the remaining half hour. They struggled to keep possession and they became more incosistent, as well as giving away more corners and free-kicks.
But Dani Martín saved the day with two brilliant saves and the Blue and Whites eventually saw the game out as the team kept its shape until the end to take a crucial win.
Malaga will next play against Burgos at La Rosaleda at 8pm on Saturday, a key game that could secure Malaga's place in the second division next season. The Blue and Whites need just two points to make it official, so a defeat could still be valid as long as both Real Sociedad B and Amorebieta also lose.