x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Defeat shows Malaga are still a work in progress

Malaga's spending has created much envy in Spain, so Sevilla enjoyed reasserting their authority with a 2-1 victory.

Malaga spent €59 million (Dh312,173m) on nine new players during the close season to add to the five they bought in January. Their lavish Qatar-funded outlay put them alongside Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid as the biggest spenders in Spain during the summer break.

After finishing the last season strongly, Manuel Pellegrini's side were not unreasonable in their hopes of challenging for a Champions League place, and a highest league finish this season.

They had hoped to start their campaign against Barcelona last weekend, but the strike meant their first match was at Sevilla, the undisputed top-dogs in their home region of Andalusia for much of the last decade.

Sevilla are weaker than the side which won back-to-back Uefa Cups in 2006 and 2007, and almost won the league, but they remain the best-supported team in Andalusia, where they are based in the region's biggest city.

Malaga's spending has created much envy in Spain, especially among Andalusia's three other top-flight clubs, so Sevilla enjoyed reasserting their authority with a 2-1 victory.

The Sevilla supporters, who teased local boy Joaquin, the former Real Betis player, and sang songs wishing for a tsunami to hit Malaga's Costa del Sol, delighted as their team opened with a victory against the rich pretenders.

Missing Julio Baptista, their best player, in midfield, Malaga looked every bit the work in progress that they are.


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