“¡Al-Thani vete ya!” was the cry from the home faithful as Loïc Rémy put the icing on the cake in his new side’s comfortable 3-1 win over Malaga at La Rosaleda.
The ground was unusually subdued on Monday night even before fans watched their side fall limply to Las Palmas who themselves were looking for their first points of the season. In fact, it wasn’t until the 16th minute when the crowd awoke from their slumber after Adrián took down the ball in the penalty area, only for right-back Míchel to take a clumsy tumble and seemingly handle the ball. The referee was unmoved and the eerie silence returned to the ground.
The home side started the tie narrowly in the ascendancy but loose passes and a lack of creativity found penetration into the final third difficult and soon they would surrender the momentum to their hosts.
Barring a low drive from the corner of the box from Roberto Rosales that the keeper had to get down sharply to parry, the Canarians looked the most likely to score with Oussama Tannane and Jonathan Viera especially causing problems with their trickery.
The pair both had sighters before Viera eventually gave his side the lead just before the break, neatly taking in Alen Halilovic’s slide rule pass across the area before beating Roberto at the near post.
Whatever Míchel said at half time seemed to invigorate his side who had the equaliser within minutes of the restart when Diego González nodded home a perfectly-delivered freekick from Recio from the right. However, this was about as good as it would get for the Blue and Whites who remained on the back foot and ought to have been behind again, but for Roberto’s quick reactions in flicking Halilović’s shot onto the crossbar.
The impessive Halilović was then unexpectedly withdrawn, with former Chelsea man Loïc Rémy taking his place. This move, though, paid off when ex-West Ham striker Jonathan Calleri ran onto a through ball and expertly held off González before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
Míchel threw on attackers Youssef En-Nesyri and Javi Ontiveros in response, but frustration soon started to boil over with Recio picking up a silly yellow card as the Las Palmas defence limited his side to shots from distance and hopeful balls into the box.
With stoppage time looming, the inevitable came. Rémy collected the ball in a tight space in the area before tucking the ball into the bottom corner for a debut to remember – and just rewards for his side’s performance.
La Rosaleda quickly emptied with the crowd chanting “¡Al-Thani vete ya!” (Al-Thani out!) as the reality of yet another relegation battle quickly dawned.