Monday, 6 March 2023, 16:22
Malaga CF's prospects of staying in Segunda look bleak. Sergio Pellicer's side are now 10 points from safety after suffering a 0-1 defeat in Sunday's relegation six-pointer against Racing Santander at La Rosaleda.
Lago Junior had the hosts' first chance in a cagey first half with few chances. His effort in the 18th minute from just outside the box bounced up awkwardly for Miquel Parera who stretched to push it around the post.
Parera again had to be alert to deny Rubén Castro who, after finding himself free in the box, swivelled and then fired the ball down the keeper's throat.
This was a game Malaga had to win to stand any realistic chance of staying in the division but their chances were not helped by going a man down once again - this time within 30 seconds of the start of the second half.
Referee Álvaro Moreno Aragón didn't hesitate to give centre midfielder Genaro a red card after his reckless high tackle left Iñigo Vicente in a heap on the ground.
From then on, with the numerical advantage, the visitors were clearly in the ascendency. Aritz Aldasoro came close with a long-range strike just minutes later.
This should have served as a warning, but it wasn't heeded. In the 67th minute, the crucial goal arrived. Roko Baturina did extremely well to hold the ball up under pressure from Jonás Ramalho in the penalty area and teed up Iñigo Vicente to sweep the ball into the far corner.
Jordi Mboula could have doubled Racing's advantage, but his meek volley on the six-yard line was easily gathered by Rubén Yáñez.
It wasn't until stoppage time that Malaga really started to turn the screw in search of an equaliser: Rubén Castro fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box, before a looping volley from substitute Arvin Appiah landed on the roof of the net.
Despite a record home crowd for the season, 26,061, Malaga just couldn't find a way.
«We have a big task ahead,» said coach Sergio Pellicer, «but we'll recharge the batteries and go again».
Next up for Malaga is a trip to the Canary Islands to face top-of-the-table Las Palmas on Saturday night (9pm kick-off).
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