First Division - Day 22

Málaga 0 - Mallorca 1

Málaga: Rafa; Rojas (Canabal 67'), Larrainzar, Roteta, Valcarce (Iznata 20'); Rufete, Movilla, De los Santos, Zárate (Agostinho 64'); Darío Silva, Dely Valdés. 4-4-2. Mallorca: Leo Franco; Olaizola, Fernando Niño, Nadal, Miguel Soler; Engonga, Marcos; Novo (Armando 70'), Finidi, Carreras; Luque (Carlos 89'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Málaga: Rafa for Contreras / Mallorca: Marcos, Novo for Ibagaza, Eto'o.

0-1. 31. Rafa (own goal). Ball hit his knee and bounced in after cross from Luque.

An incredible mistake by second choice keeper Rafa gave away this match in the first half to a Mallorca side who didn't deserve to take away the three points. Rafa, who was substituting the injured Contreras for the first time this season, lost Luque's high cross in the bright sunlight and with no opposing player within yards of him, allowed the ball to hit him on the knees and creep in to the net. It was a cruel blow for the keeper who had been waiting a long time for a chance, and he ended the match in tears as his team were unable to get back in the game after the goal. Málaga's woes didn't end there though, their left back Valcarce falling badly earlier in the game while taking a shot at goal and breaking his cruciate knee ligament, an injury which will keep him out for the rest of the season.

Mallorca had obviously come here for the draw, and with Eto'o suspended after their cup defeat against Celta and Ibagaza injured, Luis Aragonés picked a defensive team, with only Luque and Finidi with any attacking role. With veteran defender Nadal and keeper Leo Franco in superb form, Mallorca set up a defensive net that caught everything that Málaga could throw at it. Only a shot by Zárate in the first half which hit the post caused any consternation in the ranks, with Leo Franco saving from Canabal in the second. As the game wore on Aragonés added defenders at the same rate as Peiró added attackers, and the visitors ended the game with a back seven. Mallorca's victory keeps them in sixth place level on points with fifth placed Villarreal and three points ahead of Rayo Vallecano. Málaga drop to thirteenth, still not too out of touch with the group above them but needing a couple of good results to get back on track for their dream of qualifying for European football next year.