Liga - Malaga edge out Villarreal
Malaga beat Villarreal 2-1 at the Estadio La Rosaleda in an entertaining match to go fifth in La Liga.
Villarreal could only create half chances in the second period and the result leaves them all the way down in 12th position.
The first half was end-to-end with Malaga having more of the play, but Villarreal looking dangerous on the counter.
It took the home side all of four minutes to open the scoring. Santi Cazorla took an inswinging corner and Toulalan, completely unmarked, met the ball at the near post to power it past the helpless Diego Lopez.
Villarreal responded well though and were on level terms after a quarter of an hour. Borja Valero on the break avoided the attentions of Toulalan and slid a delayed pass to Ruben in the area, who slammed it into the roof of the net from 12 yards.
They should have completed the turnaround just two minutes later, but Hernan Perez hit an inviting header straight at the goalkeeper.
Instead it was Malaga who took the lead five minutes before half-time.
Toulalan twisted and turned on the halfway line, the ball making its way to Isco. The youngster slotted Jose Rondon through on goal, though the angle was tough. His left foot shot was parried by Lopez, but Isco had continued his run into the box and was left with the simple task of slotting into the unguarded net.
The second half was short on goalmouth incident, though there was still controversy when Toulalan was sent off for a second yellow within 10 minutes of his first. Number one was deserved after a late challenge, but the second was harsh as he just seemed to collide with the player following a 50-50.
From the free-kick Valero had Villarreal’s best opportunity to get on level terms, but his whipped effort was brilliantly saved by Willy Caballero as it flew towards the top corner.