Mar 17, 2013 at 11am UK at ​Estadio La Rosaleda
Malaga
0-2
Espanyol

Duda (75'), Camacho (86')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Colotto (49'), García (66')
Wakaso (43'), Forlin (55'), Verdú (60')

Live Commentary: Malaga 0-2 Espanyol - as it happened

Espanyol's Sergio Garcia celebrates his goal on December 16, 2012
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadio La Rosaleda as Espanyol record a 2-0 win over Malaga.

Malaga welcomed Espanyol to the Estadio La Rosaleda on Sunday looking for the three points to keep their top-four hopes alive.

A tight first period brought few chances for either side, with the scores remaining level at the interval.

Espanyol were ahead early in the second half, however, when Diego Colotto pounced on a mistake from Willy Caballero to fire home from close range.

Malaga continued to press for the equaliser, but they were stung on the break when Sergio Garcia finished off a sweeping move after 66 minutes.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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10.31amMorning all! Our La Liga coverage for the day opens from Malaga as the home side welcome Espanyol. Malaga may have booked their place in the final eight of the Champions League last week, but they will not be able to compete in the competition for the next four seasons, should they qualify, due to unpaid bills.

10.34amMalaga’s league form has suffered in recent weeks, meanwhile, with two draws and a defeat from their last three matches. They have dropped into sixth position in the table, but they remain just three points off the top four. This is the type of match that they simply have to win in order to keep hold of their top-four hopes, which would be a huge success.

10.37amIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Malaga have enjoyed the best of it with three wins to Espanyol’s one in the last five matches. As mentioned, the points were shared in a goalless draw in the reverse match at the beginning of the season, but Malaga have been comfortable winners the last two times they have welcomed Espanyol to this stadium.

10.40amMalaga’s home form has been strong this season with seven wins from their 14 matches, losing just three times in the process. Espanyol have struggled on the road, however, with just two wins from 13 matches, which points to only one result this afternoon. However, as we all know only too well, football has a funny way of surprising you when you least expect it.

10.43amEspanyol may have lost two of their last three in the league, but they have won three of their last six to continue their revival in the second part of the season. Many had written them off when Javier Aguirre arrived at the club, but the Mexican has moved them clear of trouble. As it stands, they sit 13th in the table, eight points clear of the drop zone.

10.46amTEAMS:

MALAGA: Caballero; Lugano, Weligton, Antunes, Gamez; Toulalan, Camacho, Isco; Fernandez, Santa Cruz, Piazon

ESPANYOL: Casilla; Colotto, Moreno, Capdevilla, Mattioni; Forlin, Verdu, Sanchez, Wubarak; Stuani, Garcia


10.49amSo there we have it. Roque Santa Cruz is handed a start following his strike against Porto last week. The on-loan Manchester City striker is joined in attack by Lucas Piazon, with Javier Saviola dropping to the bench. Espanyol, meanwhile, have Victor Sanchez back from injury, but Samuele Longo and Martin Petrov once more start on the bench.

10.52amTaking a look at the numbers, Malaga’s success this season has been built on a strong defence. They have conceded just 25 goals in 27 games, the second-best record in the league. Espanyol, however, have also impressed in this area with 37 conceded. Down the other end, Malaga have scored 38 goals to Espanyol’s 31.

10.55amLet me just take this moment to remind you what we have to come this afternoon in La Liga. Our action resumes at 3.30pm as Sevilla welcome Real Zaragoza, before Osasuna host Atletico Madrid. The final match of the weekend comes from Barcelona as the Catalan outfit welcome Rayo Vallecano. Be sure to join us for those fixtures.


10.58amHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged, just about time for my pre-match prediction. Malaga have been disappointing in recent weeks, but I am backing them to pick up three points against a slightly weary Espanyol side.

0 minJust a reminder of the main team news. Joaquin and Javier Saviola both drop to the Malaga bench, with Ignacio Camacho and Lucas Piazon coming into the team. Espanyol, meanwhile, once more continue with Sergio Garcia and Christian Stuani in attack. The away side get the action underway.

2 minNot a full house inside the stadium this afternoon, but there is a wonderful atmosphere. Malaga will certainly have been buoyed by their performance in the Champions League last week, but they really need to get their league form back on track. Confident start from the home side with Isco seeing plenty of the ball in the early stages.

4 minNo Joaquin for Malaga this afternoon, who was just sensational against Porto last week. I am surprised he can walk today having put in such an effort against the Portuguese outfit. Half-chance for Espanyol as Verdu collects possession outside the box before thumping an effort towards goal, but Caballero is on hand to make the save.

6 minReally good tempo to the opening six minutes of this match with both teams prepared to attack with pace and numbers. Again it's good work from Sergio Garcia as the Spaniard finds Stuani just outside the box, but his effort was deflected straight into the arms of Caballero. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive this afternoon.

8 minMalaga have just started to enjoy a period of possession in the last couple of moments with Isco beginning to influence proceedings. The Spaniard picks up possession before finding Piazon in the box, but Colotto is on hand to make the clearance. The resulting corner is taken by Fernandez, but the danger is cleared. Bright opening eight minutes from both sides.

10 minAgain Isco is involved for the home side as he collects possession outside the box before finding Antunes, but Victor Sanchez comes back to stop the cross. If Malaga are to finish in the top four this season, then these are the matches that they simply have to win. However, Espanyol are clearly not in the mood for any handouts as they continue to attack.

12 minIsco remains the danger for the home side as he darts into the penalty area before striking an effort towards goal, but Moreno is on hand to make the block. It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium for this match. No mid-afternoon siesta for these supporters.

14 minIt's really nice football from Espanyol as they pass and probe outside the penalty area, but the move breaks down at the final moment. Malaga attack immediately down the other end with Gamez, but his cross towards Santa Cruz is just too long for the Paraguayan. Still no goals with 14 minutes on the clock in Malaga.

16 minNot too much to report in terms of attacking opportunities in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of relinquishing possession in the final third of the pitch. A searching cross from Gamez does cause problems in the Espanyol defence, but Casilla comes through a host of bodies to make the clearance. Two well-matched teams on display thus far.

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18 minNot too much from Garcia and Stuani in the opening 18 minutes of this match, with Espanyol's threat coming from distance in the shape of Verdu. Malaga once more pass and probe outside the penalty area, but the move breaks down at the vital moment. Still no real chances for either side as the first period begins to gather pace.

20 minCHANCE! Clearest opportunity of the match comes to the home side as Santa Cruz meets a corner from Isco, but his header is straight at Casilla. The rebound falls nicely for Gamez, but somehow Moreno manages to hook clear. That is without question the closest either side have come thus far.

23 minEspanyol are just struggling to put a period of possession together at the moment with the home side squeezing their midfield high up the pitch. The away side had some decent opportunities in the early stages, but their threat has now disappeared. Bright opening from Fernandez and Isco as the Malaga pair continue to exchange short passes in and around the opposing penalty area.

25 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with most of the football being played in the middle part of the pitch. If it were a boxing match, then Malaga would be winning on points. However, there is a backbone to Espanyol these days. They might have folded in this type of match in the early stages of the season.

27 minAgain it's good work from Isco as the Spaniard dances into the penalty area before finding a cross to the far post, but Casilla is out to claim with confidence. Not too much from Piazon in the opening 27 minutes of the match, with the on-loan Chelsea striker struggling to come to terms with the intensity. It remains goalless with 27 minutes on the clock.

29 minThe wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium remains as the home support continue to raise their voices. Slightly better from Espanyol in the last couple of moments as they enjoy a period of possession in the Malaga half, but they are just struggling to find that final pass. Little under 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

32 minSlightly bitty period of the match in the last few minutes with neither side able to influence proceedings in the final third. The football up until each penalty box has been of a high standard, but clear chances have been at a premium. It is the type of match that really needs a goal in order to open it up. Garcia has an effort from distance, but it was always moving wide of the post.

34 minFirst sign of Stuani as the Espanyol striker rises highest in the penalty area, but he can only head over the crossbar from close range. Malaga advance immediately down the other end with Isco, but once more the final pass fails to reach its desired destination. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining at the Estadio La Rosaleda.

36 minVerdu is the architect for Espanyol as he collects possession outside the box before sliding a low pass towards Garcia, but Lugano is across to clear the danger. The clearance falls straight to Victor, who tries his luck, but Weligton steps out to make the block. Good spell for the away side, but still no real chances.

38 minThe sunshine has joined us in Malaga, but unfortunately the quality of the football is not matching the weather. Another half-chance comes to the home side as Isco finds Santa Cruz outside the box, who in turn finds Piazon, but his effort was straight at the goalkeeper. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining.

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41 minIn truth, not the most enthralling half of football that I have seen. Malaga have had the better of it, but clear chances have been few and far between. A back heel from Fernandez presents the ball to Antunes outside the box, but he flashes his effort into the side netting. Ever so one-paced in the latter stages of the first period.

43 minHalf-chance for the away side as Colotto meets a corner from Wakaso, but the Argentine could only head wide of the post from close range. Malaga advance immediately down the other end with Fernandez, but his cross is straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. That is just about the story of the first period.

45 minWakaso picks up his 10th yellow card of the season for a late challenge on Gamez. The resulting free kick is taken by Isco, but Casilla comes a long way to claim the danger. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play one additional minute at the end of the half.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: Malaga 0-0 Espanyol

11.46amSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. Espanyol had chances in the early stages of the match, but Malaga grew into the latter stages. Neither side has really done enough to be leading at this stage of proceedings.

11.50amSTATISTICS: The home side have dominated possession with 65%, while they have had five attempts to Espanyol's four. Neither team has really worried the opposing goalkeeper, although Caballero was forced into a couple of fine saves in the early stages.

11.54amBENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench in the shape of Saviola and Joaquin. Meanwhile, Espanyol have the likes of Samuele Longo and Martin Petrov in reserve. It remains to be seen whether either manager makes changes at the interval. If it were Jose Mourinho, then it would be almost certain.

11.58amAs it stands, Malaga would remain in fifth position in the table, two points behind Real Sociedad. Three points would also keep them fifth, however, with their inferior goal difference. Meanwhile, Espanyol would remain in 13th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone with 10 matches remaining.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. No changes for either side at the interval which is not too surprising. Just a reminder that our La Liga action resumes this afternoon at 3.30pm for three back-to-back fixtures. Be sure to join us for that. Right, the home side get the half underway.

48 minConfident start from the home side as Antunes drives down the left before firing a low cross into the box, is it only partially cleared to Isco, who tries his luck, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. Antunes is also involved once moments later, with Colotto forced to turn his cross wide behind for a corner.

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49 minGOAL! Malaga 0-1 Espanyol (Colotto)

50 minThe end-to-end start to the second period continues as Garcia forces a corner from Antunes. The resulting set piece is fired into the penalty area by Verdu, Caballero comes to claim, but he makes a mess of it, with Colotto on hand to tap home from close range. Horror mistake from the goalkeeper.

52 minWell, there has been more action in the opening five minutes of the second period than there was in the previous 45. Toulalan attempts to level the scores immediately as he strikes from outside the box, but his effort was always moving over the crossbar. Finally we have a real game on our hands.

54 minMalaga continue to force the issue with Gamez firing a high cross into the penalty area, but Casilla is out to clear the danger. You wonder whether it might be time to introduce Joaquin and Saviola. Piazon may be learning his trade, but he doesn't do anywhere near enough for me. If Malaga aren't careful, they could be left behind in the battle for fourth position.

56 minForlin becomes the latest player to have his name taken for a foul on Fernandez, but the resulting free kick comes to nothing. Malaga continue to put the pressure on with a series of high balls into the penalty area, with the latest met by Fernandez, but his header was always moving high and wide of the crossbar.

58 minEspanyol just cannot get out of their own half at the moment as they continue to defend deeper and deeper. But it cannot be said that Malaga are really threatening to level the scores. They are enjoying plenty of the ball outside the box, but Casilla is comfortable with every strike from distance. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining.

61 minVerdu becomes the latest Espanyol player to have his name taken for a foul on Isco, but once more the resulting free kick comes to nothing. Meanwhile, Malaga make a double change Dudu and Joaquin replace Fernandez and Piazon. Malaga are enjoying plenty of the ball, but Espanyol are comfortable as this second period really begins to gather pace.

63 minSlight problem for Wakaso here as the Espanyol midfielder collides with Joaquin, but following a brief spell of treatment he is deemed fit to continue. The pressure comes straight back at Espanyol as Joaquin drives a low cross into the box, but Santa Cruz can only stab wide of the post. Espanyol remain 1-0 in the lead with under 30 minutes remaining.

65 minIt is a case of 'anywhere will do' for Espanyol as they continue to clear their lines, but you do wonder whether they will be able to just defend for the remaining stages of this match. Malaga are finding it difficult to break them down, but there are more goals in this match for Espanyol if they just take a few more chances. It is just so delicately poised.

66 minGOAL! Malaga 0-2 Espanyol (Garcia)


67 minWhat was I saying? There are more goals in this for Espanyol? It is stunning work from Wakaso as the winger drives a low cross towards Garcia, who finishes first time into the top corner. Wonderful goal from the away side. They lead 2-0 with little over 20 minutes to play.

69 minIt is no surprise that Malaga have struggled this afternoon. They put so much into their Champions League clash with Porto last week, with tiredness an obvious problem in the second period. For large parts of the season, they looked nailed on for fourth, but that is no longer the case. Final change for Malaga as Saviola replaces Toulalan.

71 minDecent response from the home side as they force two corners in quick succession, but the first is palmed over by Casilla before Gamez heads the second over the crossbar. Isco keeps it alive in the penalty area, but his powerful attempt is blocked by Moreno. Espanyol have defended superbly since the very first whistle this afternoon.

73 minIn fairness to the home supporters they have stayed with their side this afternoon. Unless there is a vast turnaround in the latter stages, however, they are heading for another defeat in the league. But there is still plenty of football to be played. Little over 15 minutes remaining in Malaga.

75 minHalf-chance for Malaga as Isco wins a free kick outside the penalty area. The Spaniard rises to his feet before striking the effort, but it was always moving over the crossbar. Duda tries his luck from a similar effort minutes later, but the same outcome arrives.

77 minSlightly scrappy period of the match in the last few moments with both sides guilty of a host of fouls in the opposing half. Meanwhile, Espanyol make two changes of their own as Raul Rodriguez and Baena replace Forlin and Verdu. Little over 10 minutes of football remaining, with Espanyol leading 2-0.

80 minAnother free kick is whipped into the penalty area by Joaquin, but once more Casilla comes out to claim the danger. He has been just sensational once more. There are not many better than him in La Liga that's for certain. It is the Espanyol supporters that can be heard as this match draws to a close. What a truly wonderful job Javier Aguirre has done at this club.

82 minNot too much to report in the last few moments with both sides guilty of poor passing in the final third. Malaga continue to dominate the possession, but they have been really poor in dangerous areas thus far. If you had not seen the league table, then you would think that Espanyol were the team attempting to secure a top-four finish.

84 minTime-wasting tactics from the away side as Garcia carries the ball to the corner flag, much to the anger of Weligton, who comes across to foul the Spaniard. Garcia may not be the most elusive of players, but my word does he work hard. He has been a key component in his side's turnaround in form. Little over five minutes of football remaining.

87 minHalf-chance for the home side as Santa Cruz collects a pass from Weligton before striking towards goal, but Casilla is across to make a fine save. The resulting corner is whipped into the penalty area by Isco, but Colotto rises highest to clear the danger. Meanwhile, Espanyol make their third change as Wakaso is replaced by Victor Alvarez.

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89 minLittle under one minute of normal time to play this afternoon. Malaga continue to enjoy possession in the Espanyol half, but you get the feeling that they could play until next week and still not score. For Espanyol, it has been the perfect away performance once more. They are heading for the three points this afternoon.

90 min+1Decent spell for Espanyol as they enjoy a period of possession, but they are not threatening to score a third as they exchange passes in midfield. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of injury time and we are indeed into the first of those.

90 min+3Malaga continue to fire high balls into the penalty area, as they have done all afternoon, but the impressive Casilla once more claims the danger. Wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium in the final moments as the away support raise their voices. Little under one minute of football remaining.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Malaga 0-2 Espanyol

12.48pmSo there we have it. Two goals in the second period secure the points for Espanyol. The result keeps them in 13th position, but they are now just one point off 10th-placed Levante. Malaga, meanwhile, remain in sixth. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us from 3.30pm for more La Liga football. Until then!

Estadio Anoeta
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