Malaga players celebrate Javi Jiménez's opening goal against Mirandés. / AGENCIA LOF

A no-nonsense Malaga CF pick up first win of the season

The Blue and Whites beat Mirandés 3-1 away from home thanks to individual player performances, but still with much room for improvement as a team

SERGIO CORTÉS

Malaga CF defeated Mirandés 3-1 away from home on Saturday night to put an end to their bad start to the season which saw them score no goals and pick up zero points.

The Blue and Whites' first win was a straightforward performance thanks to the individual qualities of players such as Rubén Castro or Fran Sol, but as a team there is a lot of room for improvement.

The Andalusians struggled to gel together as a team, though all three goals came at the most opportune moments - just before and after half-time, and immediately after conceding from a penalty.

Simplified game plan

As has become the norm since taking over at the end of last season, head coach Pablo Guede has remained stubborn regarding the team's style of play.

Against Mirandés, the game plan was simplified after the team failed to make an impact, though the Argentine refused to let go of the concept of not playing with wingers; but he did opt to play with a two-man, holding midfield.

Malaga's simplified approach meant that they would have less possession of the ball and they would accumulate players in the Mirandés half as they tried to keep their shape.

The Blue and Whites found that to be a hard plan to follow in the opening half, as the players were constantly running back and forth like headless chickens, trying to cover the gaps that they themselves were creating.

Better vision

Despite the early struggles the team went through, the Andalusians were able to read the game better than the modest Mirandés side. The difference in quality was immediately noticeable, with Malaga almost scoring within ten seconds of kick-off as Aleix Febas' shot went wide.

The team's willingness to play through the middle ultimately meant they had a host of chances that were denied by the Mirandés goalkeeper; Malaga only grew in confidence and became more comfortable.

On the brink of half-time, Javi Jiménez stole the ball high up the pitch and finished off a move to give the Blue and Whites the lead.

Guede's men would double the lead within five minutes of the second half, as Rubén Castro subtly touched a well-placed cross by Gallar on the edge of the box to slot the ball into the net.

Holding on

Malaga's concentration seemed to drop, as Mirandés showed signs of putting up a fight. Genaro, who was already having a tough game, gave away a penalty which the hosts promptly converted to give them hope of a comeback.

But the Blue and Whites quikcly doused those flames with an immediate reaction thanks to Fran Sol and Gallar combining well for a third and final goal.

Guede still showed caution towards the end, reinforcing the flanks with more defensive-minded players to ensure that Mirandés couldn't get past.

In the end, Malaga picked up a much-needed win and will next play at La Rosaleda against Albacete on Sunday 4 September at 4.15pm.