Wed, Feb 08, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Granada top Malaga with Lopez goal

SAFE FOR NOW:The victory saw Granada rise to 14th in the table, just clear of the relegation zone, in a closely fought match which Malaga finished one player down

AFP, MADRID

Granada’s Odion Ighalo, right, heads to score in front of Malaga goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero, left and defender Martin Demichelis in their match in Granada, Spain, on Monday.

Photo: EPA

Inigo Lopez grabbed a late winner for Granada to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation with a 2-1 home victory over local Primera Liga rivals Malaga on Monday.

Earlier, Odion Ighalo had put Granada ahead before Salomon Rondon equalized an entertaining and hard-fought Andalusian derby that saw Malaga end the match with 10 men after Argentine central defender Martin Demichelis was sent off.

The defeat denied Malaga the chance to go sixth, while Granada will welcome the points that lift them to 14th spot, three points clear of the relegation zone.

Malaga had the better early exchanges as the game started at a fast and furious pace, with first Enzo Maresca then Rondon shooting high and wide from good positions in the opening minutes.

Malaga’s Argentine centerhalf Demichelis then met a corner with a bullet header that had to be acrobatically saved by Julio Cesar in the Granada goal, before the home team started to create some danger of their own.

First, Carlos Martins tried from long range on 36 minutes then again on 52 minutes, with Malaga goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero quick to push both efforts wide.

Granada were then on top and on 57 minutes came the opening goal as Man of the Match Carlos Martins found Mikel Rico, who crossed from the right for Ighalo to head home.

Malaga fought back and leveled 11 minutes later when Seba Fernandez played Nacho Monreal through with a delightful flick that allowed the overlapping fullback to cross for the waiting Rondon, who had an easy finish for 1-1.

Demichelis headed just wide from a free-kick on 75 minutes and Malaga seemed the likely winners until Lopez’s goal six minutes later.

Caballero could not hold a Guilhermo Siquiera shot and it was centerhalf Lopez who was the quickest to pounce on the rebound to the delight of the partisan home crowd.

Demichelis was sent off for a wild challenge on Franco Jara before the final whistle to signal Granada’s second consecutive win since the arrival of new coach Abel Resino.

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