Baptista bags brace
Julio Baptista made a memorable return from injury as he bagged two goals in Malaga's impressive La Liga victory over Real Mallorca this evening. Baptista had been sidelined for six weeks, but was back in the side and made an immediate impact to boost the Andalusians' survival hopes.
Sebas Fernandez gave Malaga the lead after 26 minutes and Baptista doubled the home side's advantage prior to half-time, before adding a second early in the second period to move Manuel Pellegrini's men provisionally out of the relegation zone.
Baptista brought a new dynamism to the home attack as Malaga - celebrating 70 years at La Rosaleda - dominated the early exchanges, with Martin Demichelis and Duda both going close. But it was Fernandez who broke the deadlock after 26 minutes, when he slid in at the far post to slot home Salomon Rondon's low cross.
Baptista then curled a low shot into the far corner from just inside the area to make it 2-0 five minutes before the break. And there was no way back for Mallorca.
The islanders were barely in the game and Baptista ensured victory 12 minutes into the second half, when he sent a brilliant header past Dudu Aouate from Duda's free-kick. Baptista departed to a standing ovation from the home fans six minutes later and Malaga ran out comfortable winners in the end.
The Andalusians move provisionally up to 17th place, but will drop back into the bottom three if Real Zaragoza avoid defeat at El Madrigal on Monday. Mallorca, meanwhile, remain in ninth place, but could drop into the bottom half after tomorrow's games.