The 2012/13 season will forever remain in the memory of Blue and Whites’ fans as a dream that became a reality. Málaga CF took part in the Champions League, shining in Europe during their first time in the biggest competition on the continent. Panathinaikos, Zenit St. Petersburg, AC Milan and FC Porto all succumbed to Pellegrini’s men, unbeaten at La Rosaleda.
The League season was also very commendable, with a great sixth place finish, and Isco and Santa Cruz the best goal scorers with nine goals. The Malaguista fans saw their team’s first victory against Real Madrid (3-2) in LaLiga, and a draw at Camp Nou (2-2) in a Copa del Rey knockout tie, where the Blue and Whites stood up to the mighty FC Barcelona.
However, all the achievements of this season were overshadowed by the team’s performance in the UEFA Champions League. Málaga CF finished in first place in the group stage, ahead of AC Milan, Zenit and Anderlecht, and Eliseu was the highest goal-scorer of the group with five goals. The round of 16 second leg clash against FC Porto was another unforgettable moment of the competition. At Rosaleda, Málaga fought back from the 1-0 result in the first leg, with spectacular goals from Isco and Santa Cruz, placing the team amongst the best eight in Europe.
And the dream should have continued. Málaga CF deserved to defeat Borussia Dortmund, but a serious error from the referee prevented them from reaching the Champions League semi-finals. Following the 0-0 draw at La Rosaleda, the Malaguistas silenced Dortmund with goals from Joaquín and Eliseu, and the dream was in sight. However, stoppage time in this match will be remembered for the referee and his assistants failing to see four German players being offside, subsequently allowing the goal that woke the Malaguistas from their Champions dream.
Nevertheless, the 2012/13 season will forever be remembered as the year Málaga CF conquered Europe and made their dream come true.