First Division - Day 23

Numancia 3 - Málaga 2

Numancia: Alvaro Nuñez; Manel, Antía, Soria, Octavio; Iñaki, Nagore (José Manuel 75'), Pacheta, Caco Morán; Iván Pérez (Muñiz 90'), Rubén Navarro (Ojeda 93'). 4-4-2.
Málaga:Contreras; Rojas, Bravo, Larrainzar, Roteta (Rafa 86'), Iznata (Fernando Sanz 65'); Movilla, De los Santos, Zárate; Canabal (Ismael 73'), Dely Valdés. 5-3-2.

Team changes: Numancia: Pacheta, Caco Morán for Marini, José Manuel / Málaga: Contreras, Bravo, Iznata, Canabal for Rafa, Valcarce, Rufete, Darío Silva.

1-0. 45. Iván Pérez. Headed past keeper after Caco Morán knocked back free kick.
1-1. 50. Zárate. Bent shot round keeper after pass from Movilla.
2-1. 57. Caco Morán (penalty). After Contreras brought down Rubén Navarro.
2-2. 60. Movilla (penalty). After Antia ruled to have fouled Zárate.
3-2. 88. Rubén Navarro (penalty). Following foul by Contreras on Iñaki.

Numancia managed to keep their heads just above water with a last minute victory in which referee Esquinas Torres played an important part. Esquinas gave no less than three penalties in this match and sent off Málaga's keeper Contreras for a second bookable offence near the end in the third penalty incident. Contreras had only just returned after missing a match through injury, and was lucky not to be sent off ten minutes in to the second half when he gave away the first penalty, the referee only giving him a yellow card. When he repeated the act two minutes from the end bringing down Iñaki he had to go, his number two Raúl coming on to face the spot kick rather sooner than he would have expected after throwing away the last game against Mallorca with a silly mistake. However he could do nothing about Rubén Navarro's kick which gave all three points to the home side.

Málaga have dropped down the table having only taken one point from five games including this one, and they ended the day in fourteenth place. They were missing key players for this match, with Valcarce out for the rest of the season and Rufete and Darío Silva also injured, and Joaquín Peiró decided to change his formation, with five at the back and Canabal joining Dely Valdés up front. Numancia's manager Mariano García Remón was missing the sanctioned Marini, and with Ojeda back in favour but suffering from gastro-enteritis, Iván Pérez and Rubén Navarro kept their places up front. Pérez it was who put his side in front just before the break with his first goal for his new club, heading in from close range after Caco Morán headed the ball on.

Zárate levelled the scores shortly after half time, and after Caco Morán re-established the lead from the penalty spot, the Argentinian threw himself to the ground theatrically when disputing the ball with Antia. Although it looked as if the defender had hardly touched him, Esquinas Torres had no doubts and pointed to the spot immediately. Movilla gratefully converted the penalty, and despite a shot from Pacheta against the bar later on it looked as if his goal was going to give his side a point. But then with two minutes to go Contreras brought down Iñaki and the rest is history. Numancia had their first win at home since mid-December, keeping them two points ahead of Real Sociedad.