Malaga returned from the Canary Islands empty handed after an error-stricken night saw them lose 2-1 to a very good Las Palmas team. The Blue and Whites were vastly inferior to their hosts, who dominated throughout the whole game and only showed weakness when the Andalusians pulled back a late goal.
Head coach Pablo Guede knew of Las Palmas' quality, and decided to try and neutralise them by using three centre-backs in a 5-4-1 formation, which would shift to a 3-4-3 when Malaga were in attack.
On paper it was a solid plan, as it would deny the hosts playing in their usual manner. But Malaga barely lasted 25 minutes before conceding the first goal of the night, their defensive line proving to be much too slow for the swift trio of Canarian attackers.
Guede wasted no time in making changes, and took off Peybernes at half-time to bring on Febas, arguably the team's mots in-form player, and reverted back to a more typical four-man defence.
The swap worked, and Malaga came alive in the second half, though Las Palmas quickly caught on and made their on substitutions to cover the gaps that were opening up and eventually dominating over the visitors.
The hosts would seemingly kill the match off with ten minutes to go as they doubled their lead through Jesé, but the Blue and Whites found some untapped energy and pulled a goal back with five minutes left thanks to a brilliant move down the left by Febas.
An equaliser came tantalisingly close in the dying minutes through a close-range header from Roberto, but the Las Palmas goalkeeper did well to clear the ball off the line.
Malaga will be disappointed to come away with nothing from the match, but the feeling around the team is that they seemed to have taken a step back from their other performances under Guede. This most recent defeat is a reality check, as it's clear that the club is still not safe from relegation.
Malaga's next game will be against Real Oviedo, who are in promotion places and in great form, at at La Rosaleda on 7 May at 6:15pm.