Malaga score late to claim draw against Athletic Bilbao
Javi Guerra’s strike 12 minutes from time ensured Malaga claimed a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao, whose four-game losing streak in the Primera Division was brought to a halt.
Guerra’s strike came just eight minutes after defender Mikel San Jose had given Bilbao the lead.
It was the second time the teams had drawn against each other in a week, following on from their stalemate in the Copa del Rey at La Rosaleda.
The teams will return to San Mames on Thursday, when there must be a winner as both sides target a place in the last four of Spain’s cup competition.
It was the visitors who came closest to scoring in the early going as Samu Castillejo’s close range strike was well kept out by Gorka Iraizoz.
Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni then had to be alert to turn over Mikel Rico’s header at the near post from Ibai Gomez’s right-wing free-kick.
Overall, though, clear cut chances were few and far between in a half where defenses were on top.
Guerra was thwarted by Iraizoz while at the other end Aritz Aduriz missed the target with a header as half-time approached.
Bilbao continued to cause problems for Malaga’s defense from set-pieces in the second half, with Markel Susaeta heading straight at Kameni from a corner shortly after Aduriz had seen his 20-yard drive tipped over.
Ricardo Horta missed the target with his volley and it proved a crucial miss as Bilbao broke the deadlock in the 70th minute.
Unsurprisingly, it came from a corner, with San Jose heading low across goal at the near post from Susaeta’s set-piece from the left.
But the visitors drew level a matter of minutes later, with Guerra flicking home from Miguel Torres’ left-wing cross.
Kameni was called into action to keep out one more San Jose header from yet another set piece to ensure the spoils were shared and neither side claimed the momentum heading into Thursday’s cup decider.