Athletic Bilbao overcome Malaga in La Liga

Athletic Bilbao eased the pain of their cruel penalty shoot-out elimination from the Europa League by beating Malaga 1-0 to boost their hopes of qualifying for the competition again next season.

Bilbao

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Raul Garcia's header in the 53rd minute gave the visitors the lead against the run of play but they held on for the three points thanks to some fine saves from goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Athletic capitalised on Celta Vigo drawing with Real Betis to move ahead of the Galicians and up to fifth in the Primera Division, while Malaga stay eighth.

Ernesto Valverde's side were without their top scorer Aritz Aduriz plus fellow forwards Sabin Merino and Inaki Williams through injury, so Borja Viguera started up front.

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Malaga dominated the first half and Iraizoz had to repel efforts from Juanpi and Chory Castro early on, while midfielder Ander Iturraspe had to clear a shot from Juanpi off the line.

Iraizoz made another save from lively Venezuelan winger Juanpi early in the second half, but just a couple of minutes later Athletic took the lead at the other end, Garcia easily beating his marker at a corner to head in his second goal in as many games.

Malaga continued to create chances but still failed to level. Duje Cop sent a weak shot straight at Iraizoz after a cut back from Juanpi, and with 11 minutes remaining Brazilian forward Charles was put through one on one with the goalkeeper but could not find a way through.


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Published 17 April 2016 at 10:03pm
Source: PA Sport