With cheating all over the headlines, attention should be drawn to a match that was easily miss-able over last weekend as Malaga and Zaragoza played out a dastardly dirty second half in which neither set of cheats prospered.
The opening 45 minutes gave little indication of what was to come after the break, but the early introduction of Zaragoza’s Ewerthon to replace Javier Arizmendi helped spark the game into life four minutes after the interval. Sadly though, the visitors resorted to cheating to get the opening goal.
Angel Lafita incurred the wrath of the Boquerones when the Zaragoza forward clearly dived over home keeper Gustavo Munua to con the ref into awarding a penalty which Ewerthon tucked away.
Fighting fire with fire, Malaga soon displaying their own cheating tactics to even things up on the gamesmanship stakes as Jesus Games’s exaggerated fall from a Javier Paredes challenge forced the gullible ref into sending off the Zaragoza midfielder just before the hour mark.
Moments later and frustrations boiled over as Weligton swung out at Goni and was also sent for an early bath, but despite numerical parity being restored Malaga found an equaliser in the 74th minute as Ivan Gonzalez headed in a corner at the far post to set up a frantic last quarter of an hour.
Depressingly, rather than win the match fair and square, both teams persisting with their play-acting and simulation which broke the game down into bitty pieces graffitied with a splattering of yellow cards. But arguably the most despicable moment arrived when Malaga’s Apono reacted badly to Andre Herrera’s fall and appeared to spit in his opponents face when the pair squared up to each other, nose-to-nose.
In the closing moments there was a final shameful moment as Zaragoza forward Fernando Forestieri had the chance to win the game as he was one-on-one with the the Malaga keeper, only to clip the ball past Lopez Vallejo and fall in search of a penalty. For once the referee read the situation correctly, and when the Argentinian sheepishly rose to his feet he was met by a shiny yellow card.
The horrific second half highlights between Malaga and Zaragoza can be seen here.
Greek footballer Vassilis Lakis, formerly of Crystal Palace fame, should also be hanging his head in shame this week after diving his way to winning a penalty on Sunday.
Playing for Kavala against AEK Athens, Lakis hurled himself over the stray leg of AEK’s Nikolaos Karabelas early on in the second half of contest to perform a Superman dive, with his left arm raised as he was hitting the turf, that proved successful in conning the ref into awarding the spot-kick. Sadly Sinisa Dobrasinovic converted, and Kavala went on to win the match 2-1.
Vassilis Lakis’ shameful dive can be seen at the start of this video.