Big-spending Malaga draws with Osasuna
Juanmi came off the bench to score his first goal of the season and rescue Malaga a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna.
A draw was the least the hosts deserved after dominating from start to finish, but they were made to pay for their carelessness at both ends of the pitch in the first half.
Duda should have put Malaga ahead but was unable to make a clean connection with the excellent Isco’s cross before Nacho Monreal hit the post.
Those misses were punished when the visitors went in front on 33 minutes as the Malaga defence failed to deal with a corner from the left and Ibrahima Balde poked the ball in at the near post.
Malaga missed a host of chances early in the second period but eventually did equalise with 20 minutes to go as Juanmi slotted home Sergio Sanchez’s cross.
Manuel Pellegrini had kept faith with Salomon Rondon and Seba Fernandez up front, leaving Ruud van Nistelrooy out of the squad completely, but it was the creative duo of Isco and Santi Cazorla that caused Osasuna problems early on.
Isco’s trickery created the first big chance for Malaga as he picked out Duda inside the six-yard box, but the Portuguese midfielder could not bring the ball under his control and it went wide.
Nacho Monreal then nearly punished his old side as Isco again played the full-back in on the left and his bouncing shot came back off the post.
However, against the run of play it was Osasuna who went in front just after the half-hour as the ball ricocheted around the Malaga box and broke kindly for Ibrahima to slot home his fourth goal of the campaign.
After the break Malaga continued to dominate but with a more direct threat as Rondon’s movement also began to create problems.
The Venezuelan’s angled drive flew just wide on 55 minutes and he then set up Fernandez moments later but he couldn’t get the desired touch to lift the ball into the empty net.
Isco came within inches of the equaliser as his shot crept just wide on 67 minutes, but the goal did eventually arrive and it was no surprise that the former Valencia midfielder was at the heart of it. Isco picked out the advancing Sergio Sanchez behind the Osasuna backline and his cross was rolled in by Juanmi.
At that point Malaga looked certain to go on and win the game but they failed to create another meaningful opening and the Osasuna defence held out well to stretch their unbeaten run to four games.