Ten-man County Fermanagh suffered a 2-1 defeat after conceding late goals against Malaga at the Coleraine Showgrounds.
The Spanish side levelled the score-line in the 62nd minute from a Yousef Munoz header after Callum Frempong’s strike put Fermanagh a goal ahead 30 minutes into the first half. Malaga scored again four minutes from the final whistle when Ruben Barragan bundled in a corner from close-range. The Spanish side’s late goal sparked Fermanagh into attack as they desperately tried to snatch a point. However, their charge was ended a minute before the final whistle when defender Jordan Toal was given a second yellow card for his mistimed lunge on Jose Manzano.
The result leaves Fermanagh without a win in the qualifying games, while Malaga have won their second game in a row.
The game’s best chance fell to Malaga in the 23rd minute when Francisco Valverdre weaved his way past two Fermanagh defenders into the box after and made room for a shot, but it was turned away brilliantly for a corner by the goalkeeper. After the Spanish side wasted a catalogue of chances, Fermanagh buried their first real opportunity of the game. Malaga defender Guillermo Mateo got caught trying to play the ball from the back and was immediately pressed by four Fermanagh players. Mateo was dispossessed in his own 18-yard-line, the ball bounced around the box before falling to Frempong who struck it sweetly into the corner of the net and sent the County side a goal-up heading into half-time.
Malaga started brightly in the second half and hit the post when Barragan headed down a Jose Avellaneda cross inside four minutes. Fermanagh nearly doubled their lead fourteen minutes into the second half when Kyle Coalter beat the offside trap to latch onto a lobbed ball. However, the Malaga keeper was quick off his line and was able to block Coalter’s shot in time.
The Spaniards controlled much of the possession but Fermanagh exploited their high-line to launch counter-attacks which got the crowd to their feet. Malaga eventually got a goal for themselves after the ball was fed to Jose Nunez on the left-side, he whipped in an unstoppable cross which was turned in by Munoz. Shaken by the goal, Fermanagh conceded a corner soon after which they failed to deal with. The ball found its way to Barragan, who forced the ball over the line.
From the kick-off, Fermanagh won themselves a free-kick in a dangerous position which was cleared by the Spaniards. A counter-attack was sprung, led by Manzano. He was bearing down at goal before being taken out by Toal who was given his marching orders, receiving a second yellow.
Match Report by Nathan Webb