Stuani sparks Levante victory

Levante secured a comfortable 3-1 win at home to relegation-threatened Malaga. The victory moves the Valencia-based side nine points clear of the relegation zone with eight games still remaining.

The promoted outfit, up against a Malaga side who had won their last two matches, raced into a two-goal lead inside nine minutes through Cristian Stuani and Ruben Suarez. Although Sebas Fernandez gave Malaga hope as he pulled a goal back on the hour, Stuani wrapped up a deserved victory for the home side ten minutes later.

Malaga got off to the shaky start as they went behind after just five minutes. Ruben spotted Stuani's run and played a pinpoint pass through to the Uruguayan, who beat Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero to score from the first chance of the match.

From the second opportunity of the game, Stuani made it 2-0. The striker was left all alone in the area by an undisciplined Malaga defence - missing the suspended Weligton - to head home from close range.

Stuani twice came close to a third for the home side later in the half, but was unable to make contact with his first effort and saw a shot saved by Caballero after that. Malaga hit back through Fernandez on the hour, when he latched onto a Jesus Gamez pass to beat Gustavo Munua with a clinical finish.

Levante's two-goal advantage, though, was restored ten minutes later when Stuani pounced to fire home after Valdo had scuffed his effort.

Malaga threw everything at the home side in the remaining 20 minutes, but Asier del Horno made a vital block for Levante and Salomon Rondon missed a great chance for the Andalusians when he blasted high and wide from close range.

While Levante now look virtually safe, Malaga have plenty of hard work ahead if they are to avoid the drop. With eight games remaining, Manuel Pellegrini's side lie second to bottom..