Malaga will surely be the happier side to have emerged from the first leg of their quarterfinal tie against Borussia Dortmund with the scores still level and crucially without having conceded an away goal.
There were plenty of chances at La Rosaleda with the favorites for the tie Dortmund and, in particular, Mario Gotze, spurning the best of them.
Malaga’s defensive record has been key to them progressing to the last eight in their first ever season in the Champions League and, after keeping another clean sheet, their manager Manuel Pellegrini will doubtless feel they now have every chance of progressing to the last four.
Dortmund have been one of the most impressive sides in this season’s competition, but they will have to be far more clinical if they are to fulfill their reputation as dark horses to claim the trophy at Wembley.
The home side’s defense was cut wide open early on as a flick on from Robert Lewandowski got Gotze clean through, but not for the last time his finish lacked conviction and Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero dived to his left to turn the ball away.
Minutes later the young midfielder’s finishing touch again deserted him when Marco Reus slipped him in down the right of the area, but he shot straight at Caballero.
Malaga also threatened at the other end, with Javier Saviola striking poorly wide of the near post from the right of the box with teammates waiting in the middle. The closest the La Liga side came was when defender Weligton got up strongly to a corner and directed a header down toward goal but Roman Widenfeller was able to claw it away.
The creative star of the Malaga side also threatened after the break as Isco smashed a half-volley toward goal but Weidenfeller beat away.
The frustration at the stalemate, though, will be felt strongest by Dortmund.
Gotze did well to set up Lewandowski for a clear chance only for the Pole to completely mishit his effort, before the Germany international completed his personal hat-trick of missed opportunities by striking wide across goal when clean through from the angle.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.