Malaga owner hails win over Milan
Malaga owner Abdullah Bin Nassar Al-Thani appeared to commit to further investment in the club after watching them seal a deserved 1-0 win over seven-times European Champions AC Milan at a packed Rosaleda on Wednesday.
Los Boquerones, in their first-ever Champions League campaign, are clear at the top of Group C with three wins from three games.
Such a situation had seemed impossible over the summer, when star players were being sold to pay off mounting debts as Al-Thani first reportedly tried to sell the club and then withdrew his previously generous backing.
The Qatari sheikh, attending his first game in Malaga since the summer, said there would "of course" now be more backing for the club, which remains in deep financial difficulty.
"We are going to invest: there is a future," he said. "I congratulate the players, the coach and, above all, the fans for their support."
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who has done an outstanding job in keeping the remaining players focused and confident, welcomed Al-Thani's presence but was not keen to discuss his contribution much further when he spoke to reporters after the game.
"It was important that he was here today," Pellegrini said. "He was in the dressing-room and congratulated everyone. Now we will talk about other subjects."
The Chilean coach was more concerned about praising his players for a performance that saw them out-battle and out-think a disappointing Milan side.
"It was a very positive performance and important result," he said. "We did not want to let the fans down.
"We started the game with the right intensity, were very balanced, patient and kept going for the 90 minutes. We have the mentality of a big team."
Malaga are five points clear of second-placed Milan, with Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht further back, but Pellegrini emphasised that he was not taking qualification for granted.
"For us, more important than beating Milan was moving closer to going through from the group," he said. "We are not safely through yet. We need to go to Milan next and keep winning or collecting points."
Goalscorer Joaquin, who for the second consecutive game hit the winner after first missing a penalty, told Spanish TV it had been a special night for everyone associated with the Andalucian club.
"All Malaguismo have made history today," he said. "We could not have imagined this during the summer when we did not know what would happen from day to day.
"It was a difficult game, but I believe we were much the better team. We went for the win from the start. We deserved to win."