Malaga boost European hopes with Sevilla win
MADRID: Malaga moved clear in fourth place in La Liga on Saturday with a 2-0 win over 10-man Sevilla who were left to rue a first half of wasted chances.
It was Malaga’s first win on their travels since the beginning of September and it appeared far from likely as Sevilla dominated the first 45 minutes but failed to make the most of a hatful of opportunities with Alvaro Negredo the most guilty.
Martin Demichelis headed Malaga into the lead after 49 minutes and then Eliseu Pereira sealed the win with a penalty which had also seen the dismissal of defender Federico Fazio for a foul on Joaquin Sanchez.
Malaga are now three points ahead of fifth-placed Betis who face Celta Vigo on Monday.
Sevilla may be languishing in mid-table but they are a tough side to play at home due to their pressing in midfield, while they have pace on the wings especially through Jesus Navas.
They were without Hedwiges Maduro as well as long-term injury victim Piotr Trochowski in midfield but still took the game to Malaga and Negredo should have given them the lead within three minutes.
He rounded the keeper but hit the post with his weaker right foot with the goal gaping.
Ivan Rakitic was dictating play from the middle and the Malaga defence was stretched as another chance went begging with Diego Perotti hitting the side netting.
Sevilla were forcing a high tempo but they were nearly caught out at the other end when Roque Santa Cruz, surprisingly playing ahead of Javier Saviola, headed just past the post with still less than quarter of an hour played.
Malaga keeper Willy Caballero came to the rescue as he parried a Negredo shot from point-blank range and the follow-up from Navas was blocked by Jesus Gamez.
Malaga were struggling to get the ball off Sevilla and build play with the quality that they have in midfield with Isco Alcarcon, and possibly their most in-form player Joaquin on the right wing, isolated.
After the break, though, Malaga came out with more attacking intent and quickly went ahead through Demichelis who headed in a Joaquin corner from the far post.
The evening got worse for the home side with Rakitic going off injured and then Fazio was sent off for upending Joaquin in the box and Eliseu converted the penalty.
Earlier a controversial Diego Castro penalty gave Getafe a 1-1 draw with 10-man Osasuna.
Despite the second-half dismissal of Emiliano Armenteros, Osasuna went ahead through Kike Sola but then in stoppage time a spot-kick was awarded for a handball by Oier Sanjurjo.
The Osasuna players were livid and replays showed the ball didn’t touch Sanjurjo’s arm, but Castro slotted the ball home from 12 yards.
An Aritz Aduriz header after 10 minutes gave Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 win away to Mallorca while Granada and Real Sociedad drew 0-0.
On Sunday, Barcelona, who have 14 wins from 15 games in a record start to the season, can stretch their lead to to nine points if they beat second-placed Atletico Madrid while stuttering Real Madrid take on bottom side Espanyol.