Malaga hosts Zaragoza in round 40 of Spanish LaLiga 2. The match will be played on Friday, May 24th at Estadio La Rosaleda (Malaga)
When Sheikh Al-Thani bought Malaga, he began to invest substantial funds in it, which were used both to strengthen the squad and to invite experienced specialists. Since 2010, Manuel Pellegrini, Bernd Schuster, Javi Gracia, Juande Ramos, Marcelo Romero have worked with the team, and Michel has been coaching Malaga for the last two seasons. The team sparkled only in the season 2012/2013 when it managed to get into the Champions League, where it even reached the quarterfinals of the tournament. In other 5 seasons, Malaga confidently finished near the equator of La Liga standings, but last season for the team was disastrous.
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The problems had begun to appear since the very first rounds. Malaga had too many injured players, which resulted in almost the worst start in history. In the course of the season, the team never managed to overcome the crisis. The difficult squad situation was also influenced by the fact that the club was banned from transfers. However, this season in LaLiga 2, Malaga bounced back rather quickly, so it is claiming to be promoted. Of course, it will be very difficult for them to do this directly because Osasuna and Granada now occupy the first two places, but Malaga will still fight in the playoffs for the third ticket. Truth be told, it must first hold the last matches of the regular season successfully.
Zaragoza is another team that we are used to seeing in the elite Spanish division. If you look at history, this is confirmed statistically - they spent 19 seasons in Segunda, whereas in La Liga (Primera) - as many as 58. Certainly, experienced football fans will remember how the owners of Zaragoza changed in the middle of 2000s - the incoming managers promised that the club will become one of the strongest in Europe, but this never happened.
Zaragoza has recently been balancing between La Liga and Segunda. In the current season, the Zaragozans look pale, so they are only in 14th place in the standings. Moreover, they have not even officially guaranteed a place in Segunda for the next season. Under very unfortunate circumstances, Zaragoza may still drop in class. But surely, the team will spend the rest of the season without motivation, so it can become easy meat for such opponents like Malaga.
In this season, the upcoming rivals have met not in the elite division of Spain for the first time in far too long. The first leg duel took place in Zaragoza and ended with the defeat of the hosts with a 0:2 score. However, the result was catastrophically unfair. And the thing is that Malaga delivered only 3 shots on goal; 2 of them reached the goal area and both were scoring. But Zaragoza not only possessed a territorial advantage but did everything to win - the team delivered 18 shots but never managed to score. If we take into account the head-to-head matches of the teams over the past 10 years, Malaga has a slight advantage because it won 4 times, lost twice, and another 5 matches ended in a draw.
In the current season, Malaga shows a great game in defense. Only Granada concedes less than Malaga in Segunda. Of course, the upcoming match is important only for the hosts, who will try to give 110% to gain victory. Zaragoza will be unmotivated and, in general, it is just playing out the season, and therefore it is expected to lose.
Prediction for the match: Malaga to win