Malaga settle with Osasuna
© AFP

Malaga's indifferent form continued to leave them narrowly hanging on to fourth place and the prospect of UEFA Champions League football next season after they were held to a draw by Osasuna.

The 1-1 result means Malaga have taken only eight of 18 possible points in their last six league matches, and they are now only three points clear of fifth-placed Levante as they go into a difficult run-in that includes fixtures against Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

They found themselves trailing to hosts who are chasing UEFA Europa League football themselves when Francisco Nino opened the scoring in the 53rd minute. Santi Cazorla levelled 15 minutes later, but there was no turnaround for Malaga who have now gone three games without a win.

Osasuna, who knew a victory would put them level with Levante, began brightly to keep Malaga firmly on the back foot. Nino, Francisco Punal and David Timor all had early efforts on goal while Javad Nekounam blasted over.

Malaga had to wait until the 34th minute for their first sight on goal, but Cazorla's effort was charged down by Damia Abella. Moments later, Nacho Monreal struck the post as Malaga's recent luck showed little sign of changing. It did at least encourage the visitors as they began to pour forward.

Alarcon Isco's shot was blocked by Manuel Lolo, with Sergio Sanchez heading narrowly wide from the resulting corner. The final chance of the first half belonged to Osasuna, though, but Alvaro Cejudo mis-hit his shot from close range and Carlos Kameni made the save.

The Malaga keeper turned another effort from Cejudo around the post early in the second half, but was beaten moments later when Nino got up to nod Cejudo's cross into the right-hand side of the goal. Timor's attempt to add a second moments later went wide, and Malaga began to exert some pressure in search of an equaliser.

Ruud van Nistelrooy headed wide, but Cazorla found the target in the 67th minute with a fine effort from 25 yards out. Marc Bertran had a chance to restore Osasuna's lead but blazed over, and it was the visitors who finished on top as they sought a morale-boosting win.

Cazorla fired high before Nacho Camacho agonisingly struck the crossbar with an 87th-minute header. Cazorla had one more chance in stoppage time, but could not find the target from outside the area.