Depor defeat Malaga, Levante pursue

Deportivo La Coruna gave new coach Domingos Paciencia a winning start tonight as the struggling team beat high-flying Malaga to move closer to an escape from La Liga's relegation zone.

A first win since early November for the Galicians was secured by a goal from Pizzi 12 minutes into the second half, when he turned Martin Demichelis before sending a shot high past goalkeeper Willy Caballero. Deportivo remain in the relegation zone only on goal difference, while Malaga stay in fourth place, level on points with Real Betis who beat Real Zaragoza last night.

Levante are in pursuit of Malaga and are just one point behind now after coming from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at the Ciutat de Valencia. Athletic's Aritz Aduriz headed in Andoni Iraola's cross for his 15th goal of the season early on, but Levante levelled with a thunderous strike from Christian Lell.

Athletic were reduced to ten men after Aymeric Laporte fouled Roger to deny him a clear run on goal, and Levante made their man advantage count almost immediately as Vicente Iborra scored to give the hosts a 2-1 interval lead. Levante made the points safe in the 70th minute when Nabil El-Zhar drilled in a low drive.

Valencia began the year positively as second-half goals from Jonas and Pablo Piatti helped them come from behind to beat Granada 2-1. Granada had Mikel Rico sent off shortly after the half-hour mark but went ahead four minutes into the second half when Brayan Angulo volleyed in.

Jonas headed an equaliser from a corner delivered by Piatti, who then redirected Roberto Soldado's cross-shot into an empty net eight minutes from time. Valencia climbed to seventh place, with Granada still just a point above the relegation zone.

Sevilla eased their relegation concerns with a 1-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Osasuna in the final match of the day. Defender Emir Spahic scored the only goal, after 83 minutes, to haul Sevilla seven points clear of the bottom three.