Malaga’s disastrous campaign came to an unsurprising conclusion on Saturday afternoon as the Costa del Sol side fell to yet another defeat, their 28th of the season, against high-flying Getafe.
A Loic Remy penalty late in the second half settled a game that will be mostly remembered for a protest organised against the management of controversial owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani.
Fans had gathered in the city centre before marching to the ground, only to stay away from their seats until the second half.
In total around only 10,000 attended a game low on action, especially in the first half when fans were only awoken from their slumber after 18 minutes when Malaga forward Youssef En-Nesyri dispossessed a Getafe defender and laid the ball off to Lestienne who, with a clear sight of goal, let his opportunity go to waste as the defender got back to clear.
This chance did rouse the crowd a little and their rallying was rewarded with a few minutes of end-to-end action. First, Diego Rolán was played into the inside left position, but the Uruguayan couldn’t squeeze the ball past Vicente Guaita. Adrián then sent the Getafe keeper scrambling with his volley from the edge of the area which was blocked out for a corner.
Getafe’s Amath Ndiaye came close with a scuffed left-footed shot which dragged just wide of the far post.
Malaga keeper Andrés Prieto had to be sharp before the end of the first half to palm away a stinging freekick from Vitorino Antunes.
The hosts created a few chances in the early phases on the second half. A nice team move, which saw Isaac Success play in Rolán, ended in the same way as the forward’s chance in the first half; Guaita got down well to smother the shot.
Success, who put in his best performance in a Malaga shot, then skipped past three defenders to put himself through on the keeper. However, instead of going for goal himself, his lay-off for Maxime Lestienne was too heavy, forcing the Belgian too wide and he could only hook the ball into the side netting.
The deadlock was broken in the 73rd minute when Loïc Rémy was upended in the area by Diego González and the former Chelsea forward brushed himself down and slotted the ball in, sending Prieto the wrong way.
This subdued the atmosphere even further. It could have taken a further dent in stoppage time but Rémy whipped his shot wide of the far post, sparing the Malaga fans further embarrassment.
As time was called, the contrast between the two team couldn’t have been more apparent. High-flying Getafe waved to their twenty or so delighted fans while Malaga fans and players alike plodded out of the door, heads down, contemplating their sorry season and the club’s future in Segunda.