Malaga moved up to third spot in the Primera Division standings with a convincing 3-0 home victory over a Racing Santander side whose bid for some much-needed points at La Rosaleda was badly hit by the third-minute dismissal of defender Francis Perez.
Francis was sent off for bringing down Jose Salomon Rondon inside the area, and although Santi Cazorla missed the resulting penalty, Malaga still ran out easy winners thanks to goals from Alarcon Isco, Cazorla and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The victory sees Manuel Pellegrini's men move above Valencia and Levante into the top three, while for second-bottom Racing a sixth defeat in seven games leaves them seven points adrift of safety.
Malaga saw their good recent run ended by a 2-0 home defeat to Real Betis in their last match, but a repeat of that setback never looked likely tonight following the early red card for Francis.
Racing survived the following spot-kick as Mario Fernandez parried Cazorla's effort from 12 yards, but the visitors could only keep their hosts at bay until the 22nd minute when Isco gave Malaga the lead with a superb strike.
Nacho Monreal picked up a cross beyond the far post before laying the ball back to Isco who, from the left hand side of the area, curled an unstoppable shot past Mario into the far top corner.
Malaga created numerous opportunities to increase their lead but had to wait until the 64th minute to double their advantage through Cazorla.
The Spain international made amends for his penalty miss by picking up Enzo Maresca's pass and firing past substitute Racing keeper Dani Sotres, who had replaced Mario just after half-time.
The home side then added a third goal six minutes from time through veteran Dutchman Van Nistelrooy, who marked his appearance off the bench with a headed finish from Sergio Duda's left wing cross to cap a fine night for Champions League-chasing Malaga.