First Division - Day 15

Málaga 1 - Real Sociedad 0

Málaga: Contreras; Josemi, Litos, Roteta, Iznata (Valcarce 90'); Gerardo, Romero, Miguel Angel, Musampa (Zárate 93'); Darío Silva, Dely Valdés (Canabal 85'). 4-4-2.
Real Sociedad: Alberto; López Rekarte, Kvarme (Llorente 77'), Luiz Alberto, Aranzábal; Xabi Alonso, Idiakez; Khokhlov, Aranburu, Gabilondo (Barkero 73'); Jankauskas (De Paula 60'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Málaga: Litos, Roteta, Darío Silva for Rojas, Fernando Sanz, Zárate / Real: Idiakez, Gabilondo for Tayfun, De Pedro.

1-0. 39. Miguel Angel. Volleyed in after Litos headed back free kick.

Málaga won their relegation battle with Real Sociedad to take them momentarily at least away from the drop zone. A victory for John Toshack's side would have taken them up above their opponents and out of the relegation zone, and after four wins in their last six games they were confident of doing so. Toshack brought back Idiakez after a one match suspension, but was missing De Pedro who was injured last week. Málaga were also desperate for a victory though after getting knocked out of the cup by second division B side Cuidad de Murcia on penalties, and they welcomed back Uruguayan striker Darío Silva who scored one of the winning goals for his country in the World Cup qualifier against Australia. Goals were sadly conspicuous by their absence in recent games, with the Andalucians only capable of scoring four in their last six games, and the fans were excited about his return.

Imagine their anger therefore when referee Megia Dávila sent him off with a direct red card in the second half for a hard tackle on Xabi Alonso. Bottles rained down on the pitch, and the club were lucky to be let off with a fine in the subsequent disciplinary committee hearing. In the end though they didn't need him, with Miguel Angel beating Alberto in the first half after Litos headed on a free kick. Peiró's side move up to fourteenth, now five points clear of Real who stay in next to bottom place. The Basques are once again finding it hard to get away from the drop zone in another competitive season, although everyone imagines that they will survive once again, to keep up a record which dates back to 1968. Every week though there is one less match to go.