Malaga's UEFA Cup hopes take a blow

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:06 IST

Malaga's hopes of securing an UEFA Cup spot in next season's competition took a low as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Malaga's UEFA Cup hopes take a blow

Malaga:

Malaga's hopes of securing an UEFA Cup spot in next season's competition took a low as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo La Coruna at their La Rosaleda Stadium on Saturday. Malaga were the better side for much of the game and were unfortunate not to have won a penalty with three minutes to go, but must content themselves with a point and remain eighth in the table, while Deportivo's slim chances of winning the title itself recede even further. Deportivo's Champions' League semi final second leg against F C Porto comes up on May 4 and the visitors opened well, Djalminha's 21st minute free kick finding Cesar at the far post, but his header rebounded from the post and was cleared to safety. Deportivo received a slice of luck two minutes later when Victor was allowed to run free on goal when appearing to be offside from Hector's through ball. The flag stayed down from the referee's assitant and Victor grabbed his seventh goal of the season to put the visitors 1-0 up. Their Mediterranean hosts harbour UEFA Cup ambitions of their own and controlled much of the remainder of the game. Break evenMalaga deservedly drew level four minutes before the break when Federico Insua got to the byline and crossed to the near post - the ball evaded attacker and defender alike and although substitute Manuel Canabal scuffed his shot, the ball somehow got past Deportivo 'keeper Gustavo Munua to make it 1-1. The second half opened with a flurry of Malaga half-chances, the best of which fell to Salva Ballesta following Duda's 53rd minute throw in. This time Munua was equal to the task and the Deportivo defence held firm. Time was running out for Malaga when Ivan Leko's free kick three minutes from time caused the game's most controversial moment. Deportivo defender Jorge Andrade clearly pushed Carlos Litos in the struggle for the ball, but the referee missed the incident and the game finished 1-1. On such moments a club's season can stand or fall. Malaga will be hoping that Sunday's results go their way to keep them on track for the UEFA Cup next season. Another bruising game for Deportivo keeps them in shape for Porto on Tuesday week. (AP)



Topics : Football
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