Antoñín looks to up in disbelief after missing an chance. / MARIANO POZO

Malaga give relegation rivals a new lease of life

With nine league matches left, the Blue and Whites' point advantage over Real Sociedad B, Fuenlabrada and Amorebieta is deceiving, as they lose out on goal average

SERGIO CORTÉS

Malaga seem hell-bent on giving their relegation rivals a new lease of life. Week after week, Natxo González's side won't stop wasting away opportunities to put distance between them and the drop zone: they just can't seem to win a game in a convincing manner that would brush away any doubts - which teams like Sporting and Mirandés have done, as they won 4-1 and 3-1, respectively.

The Blue and Whites are currently hanging on because their relegation rivals - Real Sociedad B, Fuenlabrada and Amorebieta - below have performed just as badly or worse than them. The first two are still in the quest for survival precisely because Malaga gifted them three points to stay in the fight.

The supporters' reaction yesterday at La Rosaleda was obvious, as everyone already knew the results of the other teams, and the hosts' restrained attitude did little to help their on-pitch image.

Deceitful advantage

After yet another terrible performance in their defeat to Huesca, Malaga are now just six points ahead of the drop, but that lead is deceiving: because the Andalusians' goal average is so bad (-20), Real Sociedad B (-12) would only need to match Malaga's point tally to leapfrog them in the table.

The obvious fix to the solution would be to start scoring more and conceding even less, but the Blue and Whites have struggled so far this season and it seems unlikely to change anytime soon.

The club's only saving grace is that Fuenlabrada and Amorebieta would have to win at least five of the last nine games, when they've only taken all three points five and four times all season, respectively.

So, save for a miracle, the feeling is that the only real threat is Real Sociedad B. Malaga will open up gameweek 34 with a visit to Girona, and another slip up would give their rivals a further boost in morale.