Malaga play without heart, says Qatari-owner

Reuters, Sunday 21 Apr 2013

Malaga's owner criticises team for 'playing without heart' in La Liga after they lost 5-1 to Valencia

Malaga CF's players celebrate after Malaga's Joaquin, left, opened the score during the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Malaga CF in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, March 9, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Malaga's outspoken Qatari owner Abdullah Al Thani hit out at the La Liga club's players on Sunday after their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were dealt a blow in Saturday's 5-1 defeat at Valencia.

Malaga conceded four goals in six first-half minutes at the Mestalla and the defeat meant Valencia leapfrogged them into fifth, a point behind Real Sociedad who occupy Spain's fourth Champions League qualification berth and play at Osasuna later on Sunday.

"Yesterday was a very bad day and the referee was excellent," Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, wrote on his official Twitter feed.

"But the sad thing is the team was playing without heart," he added. "Sorry, but this is the truth."

Al Thani raised eyebrows this month when he criticised the match officials after Malaga's controversial exit from the Champions League at Borussia Dortmund.

Several Dortmund players were offside in the buildup to the 93rd-minute goal that sent the Bundesliga side through to the last four and Al Thani afterwards accused governing body UEFA of racism.

Malaga have six La Liga games left in which to haul in Sociedad and Valencia, or secure a spot in the Europa League, Europe's second-tier club competition.

The Costa del Sol club may not be able to take up their place as they have been banned from continental competition from next season due to financial irregularities.

They have appealed against the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and a decision is expected in mid-June.

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