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Malaga earn vital point at Osasuna

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By David Redshaw

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Malaga earned a vital point at Osasuna on Monday night that keeps Manuel Pellegrini’s men still within touching distance of a Champions League place.

Pamplona-based Osasuna knew a victory would propel them into the European spots and they had the best of the opening exchanges with Nino, Francisco Punal and David Timor all having early efforts before Javad Nekounam blasted over. But Málaga gradually began to get a foothold in the game and after Santi Cazorla saw a shot blocked by Damia Abella full-back Nacho Monreal was unlucky not to give them the lead when his left-footed drive struck a post.

However, eight minutes after the break the hosts went ahead through Nino who nodded Alvaro Cejudo’s cross home at the far post after a poor clearance from Málaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni. That was the signal for the Costa del Sol club to pour men forward and substitute Ruud van Nistelrooy had a header that went narrowly wide.

Nonetheless, the pressure eventually told on 67 minutes, Cazorla finding space on the edge of the area to curl a superb shot into the corner to give Andres Fernandez in the Osasuna goal no chance. With their tails up Málaga continued to search for the winner and thought they had taken all three points just two minutes from time but Camacho’s header agonisingly struck the crossbar.

The 1-1 result means Malaga have taken only eight out of the last 18 points available and face a difficult run-in including home fixtures against Valencia and Sporting Gijon with visits to both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Málaga boss Pellegrini lamented the fact his team could not capitalise on the chances they created although he was satisfied with his players’ performance.

“We played well, had two shots against the woodwork and also two one-on-ones with their goalkeeper. Osasuna hardly created any danger so I am very happy. We are not thinking about where we finally finish in the league, only the next game,” said the Chilean.

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