First-half goals from Charles and Raul Albentosa made it three La Liga wins in succession for resurgent Malaga as they beat 10-man Celta Vigo 2-0 on Saturday.
Charles had scored the decisive goal when Javi Gracia’s men upset leaders Atletico Madrid 1-0 before Christmas to start their upturn in form and he headed his team in front with an eighth-minute opener in this one.
Roberto Rosales hoisted the ball back into the area when Celta partially cleared a corner and goalkeeper Ruben Blanco – advancing off his line – could only tip Charles’ effort high into the net.
Fabian Orellana shot narrowly wide as Celta sought an equaliser but another set-play undid them in the 26th minute, with on-loan Derby County defender Albentosa guiding home Juanpi’s delivery from the right wing for a first goal in Malaga colours.
Daniel Wass fired Iago Aspas’ lay-off against the crossbar four minutes before half-time but Celta’s ambitions of salvaging anything from the contest dwindled in the 64th minute when Blanco received a straight red card for bringing down Nordin Amrabat.
Substitute goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez kept out Amrabat’s resulting tame penalty and fifth-place Celta were ultimately grateful to avoid further damage – Malaga substitute Pablo Fornals and Ignacio Camacho passing up clear openings – as the visitors slipped to a second straight loss.
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