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Manuel Pellegrini And Malaga – So Close Yet So Far, But Hats Off To Dortmund

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What a game between Malaga and Dortmund last night, 90 minutes of heart throbbing action which at the end left the Spanish side in agony. This is exactly why Football is the best and most popular sport on the planet. It was heart-break for Malaga as they were so close yet so far and the difficult part is now they will be out of Europe for at-least a year and lets hope this club survives bankruptcy. All the turmoil that the fans and the players went through off the pitch has almost given them a sense of bonding that very few things can provide. The players were battling for the survival of their club above everything else.

With that defeat against Borussia Dortmund, Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini suffered yet another tragedy it the very last minute when he is about to make history with a modest team in the Champions League.

During 2005-2006, Pellegrini was at the helm of Villarreal, today’s second division Spanish side. That “Yellow Submarine” team had ​​an extraordinary Champions players campaign with players like Juan Roman Riquelme and Juan Pablo Sorin, besides the Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan. The Chilean manager reached the semifinals of the competition, where he met Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. On paper, the English team was favored but the tie was tight. The first leg played in London ended in favour of the Gunners with a 1-0 scoreline. The return leg at Estadio El Madrigal, was a very tense affair when Pellegrini showed his tactical genius and took the game to Arsenal and at the dying minutes of the game was rewarded with a penalty which Riquelme failed to convert thus ending the dream run.

Pellegrini found himself almost in a similar situation yesterday when his side went down at the final seconds of the game. And this time it will bring more pain to the manager as Malaga were in the tie throughout the 180 minutes. A matter of few minutes separated Pellegrini to achieve a feat with such a modest team that even the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Massimiliano Allegri failed to achieve.

Malaga opened the scoring through Joaquin. The precise design of Pellegrini worked during the first half as his players did not allow the Germans to do any major damage. The Spanish wall created by Pellegrini did not allow anyone to pass, thanks to the heroics of his defenders who faced German onslaught and held the likes of Reus, Götze and Santana for the major part of the game. Although Dortmund equalised through Lewandowski, the tranquility of the Chilean tactician did not disappear.

The second half continued in the same way as the first, but with eight minutes remaining Malaga produced yet another surprise as Baptista combined with Eliseu to lead the Germans 1-2 and it looked like Pellegrini’s men can hold on until the final whistle. However, the spirit of the Germans allowed them to turn the game upside down in the matter of minutes in the last three minutes of the stoppage time. A long ball forward by Lewandowski found Subtotic inside the box who somehow managed to pass it to Rues who scored the equaliser and a minute later, when after a series of rebounds Santana scored the final knockout blow to change the score line to 3-2 in favor of the Germans.

The dream that lasted for the most part of the 180 minutes became a nightmare for the Spaniards and especially to the hundreds who travelled to the Westfalenstadion.

But one can’t help but feel good about Dortmund, now this club must believe that they can go all the way through. They perhaps represent everything that is good about football – wonderful style of play, unbelievable fans and financial stability which very few clubs have. Last night’s match represented everything that made you watch this game for the first time and then fall in love with it. Football Bloody hell!

Here we leave you with the goal that left the Spanish side in ruptures.

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