It was an eventful return to the dugout for Sergio Pellicer, reappointed head coach for a second spell last Wednesday as a replacement for the sacked Pepe Mel. His Malaga side came away with a point after a 0-0 draw in Gijón, away to Sporting, on Sunday evening.
Pellicer was content with what he considered "a fair result", given that "there were chances for both teams". Indeed, Sporting's Pedro Díaz had his shooting boots on. His early long-range piledriver swerved at the last minute to bring a good reaction save out of Rubén Yáñez, who was powerless to stop the same man from hitting the outside of the post a quarter of an hour later.
Malaga's own number 8, Luis Muñoz, created the visitors' best chance of the half just five minutes before the break when his poked cross-cum-shot was narrowly missed by Fran Sol on the stretch.
In the second half, Luis Muñoz tried his luck from even further than Pedro Díaz but the result was the same as his opponent's first effort: a sprawling save from a nearly wrongfooted Iván Cuéllar.
Moments after coming on as a 60th-minute substitute, Malaga striker Rubén Castro showed just what a threat he continues to be, even at 41 years of age, when he brought out an excellent reflex save from fellow veteran Cuéllar, 38, on the half-volley. Minutes later he dragged an effort wide from a tight angle, too.
As the match entered the final ten minutes, it looked like anyone's game. So, when substitute José Gragera flashed his header flashed wide of the post, it seemed that Malaga were let off the hook until they themselves passed up the chance to grab a late winner through Lago Junior's misplaced header.
With this draw, the Blue and Whites remain four points from safety, ahead of the visit of Real Oviedo on Friday night (9pm kickoff). Despite this, Pellicer took "positive things" from the result. "We have to focus on those and give the players the tools to get the results we need."
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