Saturday, 20 May 2023, 21:48
It's officially game over. Malaga CF's five-year stay in Segunda has come to an end after a 1-2 defeat to Alavés tonight (Saturday, 20 May) confirmed their relegation to the third tier.
The Blue and Whites needed to win their last two remaining games and hope that Sporting Gijón lost theirs to avoid dropping into Primera RFEF, but neither scenario came to fruition. Sporting bagged a point away to promotion-chasing Eibar and Malaga, despite coming back from a goal down, couldn't get any sort of result at Mendizorroza.
Despite everything that was at stake for both sides (Alavés needed the win to ensure that they stayed in the fight for the title going into the final day), it was a low-key first half, as though both teams were content with the draw.
Barring a long-range effort from Alavés's Rubén Duarte that was off-target and an injury to Malaga's Lago Junior, nothing noteworthy occurred until deep into stoppage time when keeper Rubén Yáñez pushed Abde Rebbach's strike out for a corner.
However, the hosts took this momentum into the second half and grabbed the lead a minute after the restart.
The goal came in very fortuitous circumstances after a game of pinball in the six-yard box between Juande and Alberto Escassi gifted Asier Villalibre a simple tap-in.
With Sporting leading 2-1 at Ipurua, at this stage it seemed all was lost. That was until Luis Muñoz, against the run of the play, was worked into an excellent position on the edge of the area by Pablo Chavarría and the Malaga academy graduate fired the ball into the top corner to give the hundreds of travelling fans hope.
This gave the visitors an injection of belief and, in fact, substitute Rubén Castro almost gave them the lead, but for Antonio Sivera flicking the veteran's whipped effort away from the far top corner.
But then, three minutes from the end, came the fatal blow. Toni Moya's goal, an almost mirror image of Muñoz's ten minutes earlier, condemned Malaga definitively to the drop.
Not even a stoppage time goal from former Malaga man Gustavo Blanco Leschuk for Eibar in the other game could save them.
Malaga captain Alberto Escassi was one of the first to head over to the fans who had travelled to Vitoria, acknowledging their support and asking forgiveness for what he described in his post-match press conference as "a terrible season from the start".
"We're devastated," he said. "Now we just have to face up to it and be honest with ourselves. As a squad we haven't been up to the task and we have to apologise to the fans. All we can do now is keep our heads down and analyse all the mistakes. We've been sh*t."
El Norte de Castilla
Necesitas ser suscriptor para poder votar.