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Spanish Primera BBVA

San Mames (ATT 31,000) 14th April 2014 - Kick off 21:00 Ref: G Gorka Gonzalez

Ath Bilbao Athletic Bilbao vs Malaga Malaga

Ath Bilbao 3

A Aduriz (5, 47)
A Herrera (62)


Malaga 0

Athletic Bilbao continued their march towards Champions League football with a dominant 3-0 home victory over Malaga

Last Updated: 16/04/14 7:40am

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Aritz Aduriz is all smiles

Aritz Aduriz is all smiles

Athletic Bilbao continued their march towards Champions League football next season with a dominant 3-0 home victory over Malaga.

Aritz Aduriz scored at the start of each half as Ernesto Valverde's side made light work of the visitors, and Ander Herrera hit the third goal with half an hour remaining, with the help of an error by the normally reliable Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

The win sees Athletic maintain their six-point gap over Sevilla, who are their nearest challengers for fourth spot in the Primera Division.

Malaga suffered their 15th defeat of the season, but have little concern of falling into the relegation zone, still a comfortable seven points above the bottom three.

The Basques needed just four minutes to take the lead, Aduriz losing his marker to head in Markel Susaeta's out-swinging corner at the near post.

Athletic then saw two penalty appeals turned down - one for a handball by Weligton, the other when Aduriz went over in the area - before creating a chance which should have lead to the second goal.

Erik Moran's flicked header put Aduriz through on goal 10 yards out, but the striker's volley went inches past the post.

Schuster's side were mere spectators as Athletic exerted total control on the game, dominating possession and never looking vulnerable to a Malaga counter.

No sooner had the second half started and Athletic doubled their advantage. Herrera won the ball back in midfield and accelerated to the edge of the area, sending a pass with the outside of his boot to Susaeta, who arrowed the ball across for Aduriz to pass into the net.

It was the striker's 12th goal of 2014, which makes him the second most prolific forward in the league since the turn of the year, only behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Aduriz then began his bid for a third goal. First he trapped a long ball up field with one touch but could not keep his second touch under the bar, and then he saw his volley fly straight into the arms of Caballero.

The third goal arrived just after the hour mark, but it was not Aduriz who scored it.

In a move that appeared to have been rehearsed on the training ground, Susaeta chipped a corner to Ander Iturraspe, who flicked a header out towards Herrera on the edge of the area.

The midfielder did not get the power he would have wanted to on his volley, but his soft effort slipped through the hands of Caballero and over the line.

Athletic maintained their dominance, while Malaga's only chance of note in the remaining half hour was a scuffed header from Roque Santa Cruz that trickled well wide of goal.

Aduriz might have got a hat-trick had Athletic been awarded a penalty when Iker Muniain was pushed over in the area by Eliseu, but the three goals and points mean Athletic are firmly in the driving seat to return to the Champions League for the first time in 18 years.

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Spanish Primera BBVA

Spanish Primera BBVA
Pos Team P Pts
1 Barcelona 37 93
2 Real Madrid 37 89
3 Atletico Madrid 37 77
4 Valencia 37 74
5 Sevilla 37 73
6 Villarreal 37 60
7 Athletic Bilbao 37 52
8 Malaga 37 50
9 Espanyol 37 49
10 Rayo Vallecano 37 49
11 Celta Vigo 37 48
12 Real Sociedad 37 43
13 Elche 37 40
14 Getafe 37 37
15 Levante 37 36
16 Granada 37 34
17 Deportivo La Coruna 37 34
18 Eibar 37 32
19 Almeria 37 32
20 Cordoba 37 20