Yet again, Real Madrid squandered an opportunity on the road and saw their title chances slip their loose grips. Los Blancos' disastrous away form seems to be affecting every player on the pitch but one. Keylor Navas once again stood out in the draw with Malaga denying Javi Garcia's men on multiple occasions. Although Cristiano and co. left Andalusia with just a sole point, without the Costa Rican between the sticks, the result could've been much worse.
Keylor Navas, the man of the match so far. Only reason we are not behind, yes, behind in the scoreboard. Incredible performance.— BlancoEdition (@BlancoEdition) February 21, 2016
Real Madrid's midfield wasn't good to say the least and the incident midway through the first half was a testament to that. Toni Kroos fell asleep for a split second and toe-poked the ball into the path of Juanpi. The midfielder attacked the goalmouth unmarked and ultimately scuffed his shot. However, credit Navas for leaving his line to cut down Juanpi's angle, making it a bit more difficult to score. Navas positioned himself well to make a play on the ball and kept the score level.
Once more, Real Madrid's defense failed to clear their lines off a throw-in which nearly led to the opening goal. Nacho attempted to take the final swing at the ball but it deflected off Camacho developing into a chance on goal. While the shot bangs off Camacho's leg with a decent amount of pace, Navas must dive to his right to corral the unintentional shot. It may not have been a difficult save to make but it's just another example of Navas bailing out his defense for mental errors that could lead to goals.
After scoring the opening goal in Ronaldo-like fashion, Cristiano earned a penalty which everyone in Madrid thought would be finished off with ease. However, the Malaga keeper matched the Dark Invader's efforts and kept the deficit to just one goal. Minutes later Juanpi received a defense-splitting through ball and stared into Navas's eyes. The Costa Rican once again cut down the attacker's angle forcing Juanpi to connect on the perfect shot. Instead, the midfielder attempted to chip Navas and saw his shot deflect over the crossbar after Real Madrid's No. 13 made the kick save.
Los Blancos maintained the lead heading into the half but in the 50th minute, Navas stepped up once again displaying why he's such a key cog in Zinedine Zidane's system. This time Real Madrid's defense sucked into the middle leaving Horta with acres of space on the left wing. Dani Carvajal closed down the attacker safely with his arms tucked away but Horta unleashed a thumping strike on goal. His shot deflected off Nacho's leg forcing a reaction save from Navas. Once again, an initial defensive error leads to a world-class stop from a player who Real Madrid might replace in the summer.
At this point in the game, Malaga already equalized but created an opportunity to put themselves in front. Charles connected on a cross from Morales after the Venezuelan bombed down the right side. While the headed shot was a bit audacious, Navas's positioning came into play. If the 6-foot goalkeeper was three steps forward, the looped header would've dropped into the back of the net giving Malaga the lead and most likely all three points.