Malaga take scrappy edge over Sevilla
A blistering start earned Malaga a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in a lively Andalusian derby at the Estadio La Rosaleda.
Weligton headed Malaga in front and Seba Fernandez restored their lead after Antonio Luna's equaliser - all inside the first 20 minutes. The match was ill-tempered and low on quality, but nevertheless entertaining, and Sevilla's Coke Andujar had an equaliser disallowed after Malaga's Alarcon Isco had been sent off.
Jose Salomon Rondon drew a good early save from Javi Varas, who then superbly turned Santi Cazorla's fifth-minute free-kick over the crossbar. Weligton headed Malaga into the lead after seven minutes, though, meeting Cazorla's free-kick entirely unmarked six yards out and heading past Varas.
Fernandez was booked for charging down Varas's clearance with an outstretched hand before Luna took advantage of woeful Malaga defending to equalise on the quarter-hour mark.
Coke's cross was dummied by Alvaro Negredo and the entire home backline stood still, with Martin Demichelis particularly culpable, to allow makeshift winger Luna to finish, making sure on the goal-line after keeper Willy Caballero half-saved his initial effort.
Malaga restored their lead in even scrappier fashion just four minutes later. Rondon beat Emir Spahic's hopeless effort to play the offside trap and squared fractionally behind Fernandez, who stumbled over the ball before scuffing home from on the ground.
The first half petered out into a midfield squabble from that point on, with the main point of note coming when Sevilla's Jose Antonio Reyes limped off to be replaced by debutant Papa Baba Diawara.
Malaga again started brightly in the second half and Varas made a sharp save from Isco before hacking the loose ball clear, but Negredo then went close to an equaliser. The striker had engaged in a running battle with Demichelis throughout the first half, which saw both players booked, and the Argentinian international was on hand to clear Negredo's weak lob after he had clumsily controlled Navas's cross.
Varas then almost threw the ball into his own net, but scrambled back to recover the situation, while Nacho Monreal's dangerous cross narrowly eluded Fernandez.
Isco was dismissed with 12 minutes remaining after catching Negredo with a high challenge. Negredo mercifully returned to the action, though clearly in some discomfort. Sevilla were denied a classy equaliser when Coke was ruled offside as he headed in an excellent cross from Navas, with unused substitute Diego Perotti booked for his protests.
Diawara then headed Coke's cross over and fellow replacement Manu del Moral dragged an effort wide as Sevilla were unable to conjure a equaliser.