Bilbao battle out late draw away to new-look Malaga

Madrid, Jan 9 (DPA) New-look Malaga were held to a late 1-1 draw at home to defiant Athletic Bilbao Saturday, a result which keeps them in the relegation dogfight.

Debutant Martin Demichelis, one of Malaga’s many winter signings, gave the hosts the lead with 10 minutes left by heading in a near-post corner from Portuguese midfielder Duda.

The Argentine defender was one of four new signings making their debut for Malaga, who have spent more heavily in the January transfer market than any other European club.

A tight win seemed in the cards for Malaga, but, three minutes into injury time, Bilbao veteran Igor Gabilondo played a speculative free-kick into the Malaga area – and World Cup reserve Javi Martinez made it 1-1 with a surprising back-header.

The hosts had dominated from start to finish against a Bilbao side hung over after Wednesday’s King’s Cup elimination against Barcelona. The visitors created little danger for new Malaga keeper Sergio Asenjo – until Martinez levelled right at the death.

The disappointing draw keeps Malaga fifth from bottom, with 17 points from 18 games. Bilbao, for their part, are eighth with 26 points.

Later Saturday, Sevilla were due to face Real Sociedad in a midtable clash. Leaders Barcelona were then scheduled to finish the day’s games away to Deportivo Coruna.

Barca are two points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, who are at home to third-placed Villarreal Sunday.