Deportivo vs Malaga
After the regular season comes the promotion play-off and this will be a duel between two teams which were relegated from La Liga last year. Deportivo ended up at the sixth place in the table and that is the last place that leads to the play-off, while Malaga was the third and it won six points more than its host. Both their head-to-head in regular season had ended as a draw.
This was not a season that Deportivo expected since they wanted express return to La Liga from which they were relegated last season. They still can return but in a more difficult way through the play-off which is always a big challenge for all teams. Deportivo ended up at the sixth place in the table and it could easily happen to not qualify for the promotion play-off. They were luckly in the finish of season because their biggest competitor Cadiz slipped in the last round which created a great opportunity for the team from La Coruna.
After winning Mallorca, Deportivo merely drew with Elche, but it was enough to allow them to decide alone about their own fate. They needed to win already written-off Cordoba in the last round. They played at home and that was an opportunity they have to use and indeed they finished the joy at the end of first and the beginning of second half when Borja Valle and P. Sanchez scored. The team’ first striker Quique didn’t play again as he spent whole match on the bench, but he might play now from the first minute.
Probable lineups Deportivo: D. Gimenez – Boveda, D. Duarte, Mari, S. Garcia – Bergantinos, Exposito – Cartabia, B. Valle, P. Sanchez – Quique
Malaga played better than his host during throughout the season and it even spent some time in the leading position. Later on they lost team and slid down in the table. At one point Malaga occupied only the seventh place, and that position wouldn’t take them to the promotion play-off. They pulled themselves together in the finish of season and they won last five matches, which propelled them at the the third place. It was clear even before the last round that they cannot reach the second place and earn direct promotion to La Liga. They still have chance to do return in the Spanish elite football league through the play-off left after only one season in the Segunda Division, but that will be definitely not an easy feat to accomplish.
Fact that they ended up at the third place brings them the home-field advantage in the rematch and nothing more. They can be optimistic since they are in good shape in the finish of season when they had five-game winning streak in which they scored goals with ease. They scored eight goals in last three matches and they finished the season with triumph in Elche by 3-0. Malaga wasn’t under any pressure in that match and they routinely won with a mixed team, given that some players were resting right for the play-off.
Probable lineups Malaga: Munir – M. Torres, L. Hernandez, P. Torres, Ricca – N'Diaye, Bare, A. Gonzalez – Kone, Ontiveros – Leschuk.
We expect a hard match as stakes are high and both teams want to return to La Liga, but it is clear that someone will be hugely disappointed after the rematch. No team will take too much risk now and the decision will be brought in the 2nd leg. Now, we forecast a match with few goals.