Malaga toast CL qualification

Malaga's fans and players have reacted jubilantly to the club's progression to the Champions League group stages.

A 0-0 draw with Panathinaikos in Athens last night was enough to send the Andalusian outfit into Friday's draw for the prestigious tournament, defeating the Greeks 2-0 on aggregate.

The result was a remarkable achievement for the Anchovies, who have experienced a terrible summer with their owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani withdrawing his investment and key players Santi Cazorla, Joris Mathijsen and Salomon Rondon being sold off.

"We've qualified and now we're going to enjoy ourselves," winger Joaquin told El Desmarque after the game. “The team decided to forget about the past and get on with playing football. We played really well but we know that every team we play in the tournament will be difficult.”

Jesus Gamez saluted his teammates mental fortitude.

“The team played really well. We didn't give them a single chance and we deserved the result. Despite everything that has happened to us we've always got out of very difficult situations with our heads held high.

“We've got ourselves into the Champions League with a squad of just 20 players,” the fullback continued.

“We know nothing about the club's owners, but we know exactly what we want. We know how much people care about the club and we're not going to give up. I hope the city is enjoying this great occasion.”

“I'm delighted, like everyone else in Malaga,” said striker Sebastian Fernandez. “It was everyone's dream to get into the group stages. This is a huge achievement after everything we've been through. Now it's our turn to enjoy the moment.”

Midfielder Isco expressed his joy at the result on his Twitter page.

“This is incredible. Now it's up to us to keep growing and improving so we can continue to achieve great things.”

Back in Malaga, meanwhile, fans celebrated the result on the city's streets until the early hours of the morning. Around 500 of them were there to greet the team when their plane landed at Malaga airport at 5am.