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The moment Zubeldia beat the keeper to the ball to score the winner. Ñito Salas
Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey
Football

Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey

The Blue and Whites put in a spirited performance against La Liga side Real Sociedad but ultimately a single goal was enough for the Basques to progress

Daryl Finch

Malaga

Sunday, 7 January 2024, 23:10

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Malaga CF put up a good fight, but their Copa del Rey dream is over for another year after a 1-0 defeat to La Liga side Real Sociedad this Sunday evening (7 January).

With the Basque side having recently reached the last 16 of the Champions League, there was a level of excitement but also resignation that this was the end of the road for the Blue and Whites - and so it proved to be.

Ñito Salas
Imagen principal - Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey
Imagen secundaria 1 - Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey
Imagen secundaria 2 - Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey

But that’s not to say Malaga didn’t have their chances to win the game. They started the game well, and even had the clearer chances of the opening 45.

Although Mikel Oyarzabal came close with a glancing header from a free-kick in the tenth minute, ten minutes later Sergio Pellicer’s side rattled the frame of the goal through Víctor García, who left keeper Unai Marrero rooted to the spot.

On the follow-up, Roberto couldn’t quite stretch far enough at the back post to convert the low cross lashed across the face of goal.

According to the script

However, just four minutes after the restart the game reflected expectations when Igor Zubeldia nipped in front of keeper Carlos López to force Mikel Merino’s header across goal over the line.

In a bid to turn the tide, Pellicer turned to his bench and brought on some more familiar faces to bolster his very young starting eleven.

Kevin was one of those to come on, and he came close to finding a leveller with a scuffed volley from the edge of the box which was well held by Marrero.

Ñito Salas
Imagen principal - Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey
Imagen secundaria 1 - Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey
Imagen secundaria 2 - Plucky Malaga CF, out of Spain's Copa del Rey

Roberto, too, could have levelled the scores but failed to make a meaningful connection with Jokin Gabilondo’s cross.

However, the clearest chance fell to the away side as Oyarzabal dinked the ball over López, but Einar Galilea was on hand to clear off the line.

Overall, there will be disappointment with the result, but also pride at having pushed such an illustrious opponent so far.

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