Malaga march up to third
10-man Santander punished by Champions League hopefuls
Last Updated: 09/04/12 10:37pm
Van Nistelrooy: Scored third
Malaga boosted their prospects of UEFA Champions League qualification with a 3-0 victory over bottom club Racing Santander.
The Primera Liga strugglers were always facing an uphill battle after defender Francis Perez was sent off after just three minutes, although Santi Cazorla missed the resulting penalty.
However, goals from Alarcon Isco, Cazorla and Ruud van Nistelrooy secured the win for Malaga, which lifts them into third in the table.
Malaga saw their good recent run ended by a 2-0 home defeat to Real Betis in their last match, but a repeat of that setback never looked likely following the early red card for Francis following a foul on Jose Salomon Rondon.
Racing survived the following spot-kick as Mario Fernandez parried Cazorla's effort from 12 yards, but the visitors could only keep their hosts at bay until the 22nd minute when Isco gave Malaga the lead with a superb strike.
Nacho Monreal picked up a cross beyond the far post before laying the ball back to Isco who, from the left-hand side of the area, curled an unstoppable shot past Mario into the far top corner.
Malaga created numerous opportunities to increase their lead but had to wait until the 64th minute to double their advantage through Cazorla.
The Spain international made amends for his penalty miss by picking up Enzo Maresca's pass and firing past substitute Racing keeper Dani Sotres, who had replaced Mario just after half-time.
The home side then added a third goal six minutes from time through veteran Dutch striker Van Nistelrooy, who marked his appearance off the bench with a header from Sergio Duda's left wing cross to cap a fine night.
Spanish Primera BBVA