Jairo with the ball during the game against Almeria. / MARIANO POZO

An improved Malaga fall short against Almeria

The Blue and Whites lost due to a defensive slip up, which gifted the visitors one of the few chances they had at La Rosaleda

ANTONIO GÓNGORA

Malaga picked up yet another defeat at La Rosaleda, losing 1-0 to second-placed Almeria on Saturday evening in another setback for the Blue and Whites. But despite offering a hard-working and encouraging attitude, the Andalusians could not turn the game around.

Almeria offered very little going forward, and they only had to take adavantage of a defensive error to score the first and only goal of the night through Umar Sadiq. Malaga desperately looked for an equaliser and their efforts were noted, but not nearly enough to score and end a terrible run of form which the fans have had to endure for the last two months.

Head coach Natxo González is still in the early stages of time at the club, and it shows in the weekly player rotation. He placed his faith in Jairo and brought in Javi Jiménez at left-back, as the coach wanted more conviction on that side of the pitch. Escassi kept his place as holding midfielder and he tried using Paulino up front.

These changes had had the desired effect since the game got under way, and tactical discipline was key against such a strong side, with the Blue and Whites' consistency curbing Almeria's hopes of making it to the final third. However, the team still made mistakes and was, at times, sloppy.

Malaga's pressure was asphixiating in every area on the pitch, stripping down their opponents' defence with continuous attacks, though they were never dangerous enough to cause Almeria concern. The new and improved Malaga did not stop, as they controlled the game and gave their fellow Andalusians no time on the ball.

Natxo's tactical knowledge is shining through, and the Malaga players seemed to be feeling good on the pitch, especially as the game wore on. But Almeria's solidity at the back, paired with their constant man-to-man marking whenever the hosts had the ball, made it impossible to pull a goal back.

The Blue and Whites will be disappointed with the result, but they will be more hopeful going into their next game against Xabi Alonso's Real Sociedad B, to be played on Saturday at 9pm.