Samu Castillejo clinches win for Malaga over Valencia
Samu Castillejo's first-half goal earned Malaga their first Primera Division win of 2015 on Monday evening at the expense of Valencia.
Castillejo headed home in the 25th minute to secure the hosts a 1-0 triumph at La Rosaleda,
The result ended a two-game winning streak for Los Che, whose cause was not helped by the second-half dismissal of defender Joao Cancelo.
Javier Gracia's men headed into the encounter having collected just two points in La Liga since December 21, and having bowed out of the Copa del Rey last Thursday at the hands of Athletic Bilbao.
But they went ahead from the first meaningful attack of the game, Samu providing the cross from the right wing and Castillejo directing his header into the bottom-left corner.
Javi Guerra could have doubled the hosts' lead within five minutes, but his close-range effort was blocked by Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves.
At the other end, Carlos Kameni was called into action only to make a straightforward save from Rodrigo's 25-yard blast just before the half-hour mark.
Dani Parejo headed wide from a Cancelo corner six minutes before the interval in what was the visitors' only other sight of goal in the first half.
Juanmi lashed a left-footed goalwards shortly before the break as Malaga looked to extend their lead, but it drifted wide.
Malaga continued to push for a second after the interval, Samu seeing a right-footed drive tipped over the bar by Alves in the 57th minute.
Andre Gomes warmed the gloves of Kameni from just outside the area soon after, but the Malaga goalkeeper was not unduly troubled.
Alves had to be alert to keep out a Sergi Darder shot in the 70th minute and keep Valencia only one goal down.
Their hopes of getting back into the game suffered a setback 17 minutes from time when Cancelo, having been cautioned for a challenge on Castillejo just shy of the hour mark, receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence on Nacho Camacho.
Five Malaga players - Camacho, substitute Nordin Amrabat, Darder, Weligton and Kameni - were all yellow-carded as the second half became a tetchy affair.
But the hosts held off the challenge of the 10 men to clinch the points, which would have been won by a more comfortable margin had Amrabat's late 25-yard attempt hit the net rather than the post.