Malaga joint fifth with Valencia in Spanish football league

February 23rd, 2009 - 1:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Feb 23 (DPA) Malaga demolished Valladolid 3-1 to move to joint fifth in the Spanish Liga and dream of the Champions League.
Former Spain striker Albert Luque shot Malaga ahead Sunday with his trusty left foot in the eighth minute, and Apono made it 2-0 from the penalty spot on the half hour after Inaki Bea had pulled down Eliseu Pereira.

Pedro Oldoni pulled a goal back for Valladolid eight minutes from time. Instead of dropping back, Malaga continued to attack and were rewarded for their aggressiveness when Nacho made it 3-1 in the 89th minute.

“It’s lovely to be so high up in the table,” Nacho said, “but we should keep our feet on the ground. We shouldn’t get too excited about this.”

Newly promoted Malaga are the revelation team of the Spanish season. They are now joint fifth, level on 39 points with a Valencia side who were held to a 1-1 draw at Deportivo Coruna in Sunday’s late game.

Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa gave Valencia the lead with a classy goal in the 25th minute. But 12 minutes from time Villa was harshly sent off - and Piscu made it 1-1 for Deportivo by heading in a long free-kick.

“We are annoyed with the referee’s decisions,” said Valencia captain Carlos Marchena. “Two valuable points have been taken from us.”

Valencia, whose players have not been paid since December due to the club’s financial woes, have not won on the road for almost four months now.

Valencia and Malaga are two points behind fourth-placed Villarreal - who beat Sporting Gijon 2-1 on Saturday - and five behind Sevilla, who scored a 1-0 win late Saturday over seventh-place Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona’s lead at the top over Real Madrid was cut to seven points on Saturday, due to Barca losing 2-1 at home to crosstown rivals Espanyol. Real, meanwhile, were cruising to their ninth straight win, 6-1 at home to hapless Betis.

Most of Sunday’s games had a relegation significance. Athletic Bilbao battled out a 1-1 draw at Getafe, with a goal from Spain striker Fernando Llorente. Osasuna beat Numancia 2-0 with first-half goals from Jaroslav Plasil and Massoud Shojaei. Mallorca beat Racing Santander 1-0 on a late goal from Jose Manuel Jurado, and Almeria battled out a 1-1 draw at Recreativo Huelva.

These results leave Numancia bottom on 20 points. Then come Espanyol - who stunned leaders Barcelona 2-1 Saturday - on 21, Mallorca and Osasuna on 24, and Betis and Huelva on 26.

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