September 15, 2012
Saviola sets Malaga on their way
Malaga maintained their unbeaten start to the Primera Division season with a comfortable 3-1 home win over Levante thanks to goals from Javier Saviola, Joaquin and Francisco Portillo.
Saviola deservedly put the hosts in front after 26 minutes with a simple finish from Isco's fine through ball, but Levante were level a minute after half-time when Michel thundered in from outside the area.
However, Malaga's lead was restored 12 minutes later when Saviola's cute pass found Joaquin free inside the area and his calm finish gave Gustavo Munua no chance.
And, despite losing Sergio Sanchez to a second yellow card three minutes from time, Portillo sealed all three points with a controlled volley in the last action of the match.
Saviola was making his first start for the Andalusians since joining from Benfica just before the close of the transfer window, and his intelligent running was too much for the Levante defence to handle in a first half in which they were completely dominated.
The home fans were screaming for a penalty on 18 minutes when Sergio Ballesteros got on the wrong side of Saviola and appeared to clip the former Barcelona man's heels as he prepared to shoot, but referee Velasco Carballo was unmoved.
However, Malaga's incessant pressure soon told when David Navarro failed to cut out Isco's nicely weighted pass and Saviola strolled through to finish low past Munua.
Sanchez was then awarded his first booking for going down too easily when he and Juanlu tangled inside the area, and despite continuing to control proceedings, the hosts' failure to turn possession into chances looked like it could cost them when Levante equalised with their only shot on target.
Sanchez again thought he had been fouled just outside the Levante box, but the visitors broke as play continued and Michel carried the ball almost half the length of the pitch before firing in his first goal for the club.
Malaga's response was swift and they were back in front before the hour mark when Saviola slipped a gorgeous ball through for Joaquin to sweep home his first goal of the campaign.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini then withdrew both goalscorers with one eye on Tuesday's Champions League clash with Zenit St Petersburg.
And despite Sanchez's dismissal, it was the hosts who scored again late on to wrap up all three points as Portillo's volley from Duda's cross bounced high into the corner of the net in stoppage time.
|13 Wilfredo Caballero||1 Gustavo Munua|
|3 Weligton||4 David Navarro|
|5 Martín Demichelis||18 Sergio Ballesteros|
|15 Nacho Monreal||12 Juanfran|
|21 Sergio Sánchez||22 Christian Lell|
|22 Isco||21 Michel|
|18 Eliseu||7 Jose Barkero|
|6 Ignacio Camacho||23 Pape Diop|
|9 Javier Saviola||17 Theofanis Gekas|
|7 Joaquín||20 Juanlu|
|19 Francisco Portillo||8 Nabil El Zhar|
|24 Roque Santa Cruz||Miguel Pallardó 6|
|1 Carlos Kameni||Keylor Navas 13|
|17 Duda||Pedro López 19|
|2 Jesus Gamez||Hector Rodas 5|
|26 Juanmi||Pedro Ríos 16|
|16 Manuel Iturra||Angel 9|
|28 Recio||Rubén García 29|
|Roque Santa Cruz for Javier Saviola (69)||Pedro Ríos for Nabil El Zhar (62)|
|Recio for Joaquín (74)||Miguel Pallardó for Jose Barkero (66)|
|Duda for Eliseu (82)||Rubén García for Pape Diop (75)|
|Sergio Sánchez (36)||Christian Lell (8)|
|Ignacio Camacho (54)||Sergio Ballesteros (25)|
|Wilfredo Caballero (80)||Pape Diop (69)|
|Sergio Sánchez (87)|
|· Squads: Malaga | Levante|