Málaga vs. Zenit  3 - 0


Pellegrini powers party in Malaga

19 September 2012 13:41

Malaga head coach Manuel Pellegrini has declared his side's victory in their maiden Champions League group match as 'a party for the city'.

While fellow Champions League debutants Montpellier lost their opening home match in the continental competition, Malaga was full of smiling faces as Pellegrini's side smashed Zenit St Petersburg 3-0.

Pellegrini was thrilled to have paid back Malaga's supporters with a famous victory for the club from the south coast of Spain.

"La Rosaleda (Malaga's stadium) had the award that they deserved because they awarded the team as well with their support," Pellegrini said.

"The team are always trying to win but not only to score a goal.

"So it was a party for the city of Malaga and for me as well."

Isco scored twice for Malaga with his two goals split by a smart finish from Javier Saviola.

In France, Montpellier, who were the only other club to make their Champions League group stage debut on Tuesday, led for seven minutes at their home stadium before Arsenal fought back to win 2-1.

Despite the defeat, Montpellier head coach Rene Girard found some positives, particularly in how his team maintained their intensity in the second half.

"We can't be happy when you lose but there is still satisfaction," Girard said.

"This is a good start to our season, we put a good team in a bad situation, one of the best in Europe.

"It was a very good second half.

"It means that we are mentally and physically there.

"So there is a lot of satisfaction, despite the defeat."


Two-goal Isco rapt with Malaga win

19 September 2012 06:00

Spanish playmaker Isco was positive after he scored twice in Malaga's Champions League win over Zenit St Petersburg.

The 20-year-old was named as man of the match for the cash-strapped club, who convincingly dispatched the big-spending Russian giants, despite selling several key players over the summer.

"It was a perfect match, for me and all the team," Isco told reporters.

"We achieved this result with the hard work we do every day. The coach gives us a lot of confidence, the team is united and this was the key to this victory.

"We know that we have to go game by game, step by step. This shirt [from today] is for me - I don't want to give it away as a present."

Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini was keen to thank the fans for their support following the 3-0 win, and praised the spirit in his squad.

"I'm very happy with the support of our fans," Pellegrini said, speaking to Canal+.

"During the first half, we've missed some opportunities and we let them create their own. It's important to get defensive security.

"We had not only good performances from Isco and Portillo, but from Camacho and our central defenders.

Pellegrini also spoke of the difficult situation that the club has found itself in, in recent months.

"This team has been suffering tough moments. I'm very happy with the spirit we showed. It was important for us not to let the project go down, and also for the club itself, and for the people too," reasoned the Malaga boss.


Saviola wants determined Malaga

18 September 2012 12:15

Malaga striker Javier Saviola has reminded his new team an opening Champions League win will be crucial if they are to advance from Group C.

Having joined Malaga last month, Saviola is preparing for his new club's first-ever Champions League match, with Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg set to visit the southern Spanish city on Tuesday.

Saviola, who has previously played Champions League football with Barcelona, Monaco, Real Madrid and Benfica, believes Malaga's opening game will be very important if they are to get into the knockout stages of this season's competition.

"To start well is very important, to begin with a victory it is very important for the following games because we play at home," Saviola said.

"I think to start well against a great rival and to win will be important for the team and make us ready for the rest of the games that are coming in the next few games."

Apart from Zenit, Malaga are set to also face AC Milan and Anderlecht in Group C and head coach Manuel Pellegrini believes all of his side's fixtures will be tough.

"I think we have to be careful against Anderlecht too, they are not playing in Champions League by chance," Pellegrini said.

"There are very three difficult teams like in the other groups, either big names or clubs with potential."

Saviola has been pleased with his first few weeks at Malaga, having played two league games, which have both ended in victories.

The 30-year-old Argentine also scored in Malaga's 3-1 victory over Levante on Saturday.

"I think that victories for the team will make us stronger," Saviola said.

"It gives us a lot of confidence to keep winning, to keep progressing and they (the fans) have received me very well.

"I am improving all the time, I've adapted very quickly thanks to them, thanks to the coach, my mates and to all the people who work in the club.

"This is important for a player and to play in the Champions League is always one of the most beautiful competitions."

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
16 20 -13 19
17 20 -12 18
18 20 -22 16
19 20 -31 14
20 20 -20 12

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 20 +17 45
2 20 +18 37
3 20 +13 37
4 20 +9 36
5 20 +11 35