Away-day joy for Elche
Last Updated: 03/05/14 7:45pm
Roque Santa Cruz: Almost scored for Malaga
Garry Rodrigues' early strike was all Elche needed to claim the points in a 1-0 victory over Malaga at La Rosaleda.
Rodrigues struck after 11 minutes to clinch three much-needed points for Fran Escriba's side in their attempt to beat relegation in their first season back in the top flight, but were made to fight all the way as Alberto Botia's late red card saw them play out the final minutes with 10 men.
The home side got off to a strong start and could have taken the lead had Sergi Darder's long-range thunderbolt been on target.
Elche came back with a chance of their own moments later but Malaga midfielder Flavio Ferreira managed to block Ferran Corominas' 25-yard shot.
On-loan winger Rodrigues then handed the visitors the lead with his first goal of the season as he fired home from the right channel to put Elche in the driving seat.
Roque Santa Cruz came close to netting an equaliser midway through the first half but his curled effort from just outside the 18-yard box was tipped around the post by Manu Herrera.
The visiting goalkeeper was also quick to keep out Vitorino Antunes' fantastic effort minutes before the break.
Elche striker Richmond Boakye was replaced five minutes after the break due to injury and Malaga lost both Nacho Camacho and Jesus Gamez within eight minutes of each other after they too sustained knocks.
But both sides took a while to get going in the second half, with home goalkeeper Willy Caballero keeping out Javi Marquez's powerful header as the visitors looked to add a second.
Sergi Darder was unfortunate not to equalise with 10 minutes left as his brilliant long-range curled effort was caught by the ever-ready Herrara.
Botia was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on 84 minutes but Elche held on for all three points.
Spanish Primera BBVA