Copa del Rey: Racing vs. Malaga
Malaga made the long trip to the Spanish north coast to Santander to play Racing in the second leg of the Copa del Rey (first leg 0-0). But with their eyes firmly on the league, starting with Cadiz on Saturday, eight of the normal first team were left behind - Jesus Gámez, Weligton, Rossato, Apoño, Antonio Hidalgo, Calleja, Salva and Baha did not travel.
Málaga (4-4-2): Arnau; Raúl Gaitán, Hélder Rosario, Jesule and Valcarce; Cheli, Carpintero, Sandro and Eliseu; Iván Rosado and Peragón.
It was a more attacking line-up than anticipated and perhaps Muñiz thought he could snatch a quick away goal to make the game more complicated for the home team (as away goals count double in the event of a draw), but in fact, Malaga were overwhelmed in first half an hour by a Racing very focussed and with an almost perfect tactical disposition.
As a result Malaga did not see the ball until they were 2-0 down. Both goals were the fruits of their defensive laziness at corners.
In Malaga’s only attack in the first third of the game Malaga-reject Cesar Numpty raised his leg and committed a clear penalty against Pink Iván, but Peragón wasted the opportunity when taking a very little run up.
Malaga only really reacted when Racing stopped in its push and Sandro began to have more seconds to look for passes in depth, but Malaga already needed to score two goals.
However, Cheli gave the first warning, in an excellent move with Eliseu but his shot went straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Half-time: Racing 2 Malaga 0
Malaga continued in its reaction in second half, with more pride than capacity. Racing lowered its intensity compared to how they started the game, but did not fail to take advantage of the occasions that allowed them to counterattack.
The changes of Muñiz, that introduced Gerardo and Paulo Jorge, for a taciturn Peragón and Hélder Rosário, respectively, made no difference to the play or final outcome.
Final score: Racing 2 Malaga 0
So Malaga took leave of the Copa and although they may have had a mouth-watering tie against one the big guns, it leaves their midweek’s free in January to concentrate on winning league fixtures and gaining promotion by the end of the season.