Thursday, 7 December 2023, 07:42
Malaga CF are through to the last 32 of the Copa del Rey after a surprise victory against Segunda side Eldense at La Rosaleda on Wednesday evening.
Experiencing a full-blown injury crisis, Malaga coach Sergio Pellicer picked a youthful team against the team from the division above, with seven homegrown youngsters starting the game and only two players (Juan Hernández and Einar Galilea) retaining their spots from the previous match.
That number grew to eight when Marbella-born Ireland under-17 midfielder Aarón Ochoa Moloney became the second youngest debutant for Malaga (16 years, seven months and 17 days, beaten only by Fabrice Olinga) when he had to replace the injured Juan Hernández after 27th minutes.
And while they had to weather an early storm with reserve keeper Carlos López being kept particularly busy, the Blue and Whites took the lead just before half time when midfielder Juanpe headed home Antoñito’s inswinging corner from the left.
Despite Eldense’s attempts to regain control in the second half, Malaga, now with Dioni replacing Loren and Pellicer reinforcing the midfield with Genaro, held their ground.
Eldense threw everything at it in search of an equaliser, utilising all of their substitutions in the dying minutes to little effect.
The young Malaga side remained resolute, clinching an unexpected but well-deserved victory, highlighting the depth and potential of their emerging academy stars.
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