Mon, Sep 03, 2012 - Page 18 News List

BBVA: Malaga and Mallorca flying high after victories

Reuters, MADRID

Malaga celebrated qualifying for the Champions League group stage for the first time with a 1-0 victory at Real Zaragoza that put the Qatar-owned club level on points with RCD Mallorca at the top of La Liga on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini’s Malaga were deserved winners on a poor, sand-strewn Romareda pitch thanks to Ignacio Camacho’s near-post header from a corner in the 56th minute.

Mallorca then saw off Real Sociedad in the late kickoff after Victor Casadesus stooped to nod the ball into the corner of the net 15 minutes from time to secure a 1-0 win at the Iberostar Estadi.

Both teams have seven points from three matches, one ahead of FC Barcelona, Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid who were all slated to play yesterday.

Malaga have managed to shrug off institutional instability and the departure of key players to make a solid start to the season.

They were drawn in Group C of Europe’s elite club competition along with AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht.

Pellegrini and his players have kept their focus despite media speculation that owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, a member of the Qatar royal family, had put the club for sale after only two years.

Malaga have said they are undergoing a process of “internal restructuring” and after offloading Spain midfielder Cazorla to Arsenal and Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon to FC Rubin Kazan have brought in players including US defender Oguchi Onyewu and Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz.

Pellegrini told a news conference he was pleased his players had been able to maintain their intensity after their exertions in Europe.

Getafe followed up their surprise 2-1 win at home to champions Real Madrid last month when they fought to salvage a 1-1 draw at promoted RC Deportivo de la Coruna.

Riki put the home side ahead with a crashing left-foot drive in the sixth minute before Getafe’s French-born midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada, who scored the winner against Real, finished off a swift break in the 26th.

Depor are sixth on five points and Getafe a point behind in ninth.

Promoted RC Celta Vigo got their first points of the campaign when they beat visiting CA Osasuna 2-0.

Iago Aspas put the Galicians up with a 69th-minute header and Mario Bermejo added a second in stoppage time after a defensive error.

Osasuna had Alejandro Arribas sent off with a second yellow card seven minutes from time.

Yesterday, Barca were to play Valencia at home while Real Madrid, who have one point, hosted Granada. Valladolid were to play at point-less Athletic Bilbao and Rayo hosted Sevilla.

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