La Liga wrap: Valencia romp past Malaga
By Football News
Four goals in six first-half minutes have seen Valencia thump Malaga 5-1 to move within one point of the UEFA Champions League spots.
Valencia scored in the 25th, 28th, 30th and 31st minutes at home to leap to a 4-0 lead on Saturday and while Julio Baptista pulled one back for Malaga in first-half stoppage time, Ever Banega's 56th-minute goal ended the visitors' resistance.
The victory took Valencia above Malaga into fifth position, one point and one spot behind Real Sociedad, who currently hold La Liga's spot in the qualifying stages of next season's Champions League.
The hosts took the lead after a move down the right ended with the ball at the feet of Dani Parejo, who, thanks to a deflection off Malaga's Martin Demichelis, dribbled into the penalty area and produced a calm finish.
Just three minutes later, a driving run from left-back Aly Cissokho ended with the Frenchman crossing into the box for Roberto Soldado to score.
Soldado made it 3-0 on the half-hour mark with a penalty and from the re-start, Valencia stole the ball back, attacked down the right through Jonas and while his shot was saved, Sergio Canales was there to tap home the rebound.
Baptista gave the visiting Malaga fans something to cheer about in first-half stoppage time when he curled a free-kick over the wall and into the net but Banega's thumping strike after half-time ended any thoughts of a comeback.
Meanwhile, league leaders Barcelona had to wait until the 84th minute to overcome Levante with Cesc Fabregas scoring in a 1-0 victory.
Barcelona had 80 percent possession and took 18 shots to three at the Camp Nou but Levante looked like they would hold on for a point until Fabregas took Alexis Sanchez's pass with six minutes remaining and thumped his shot past the outstretched hand of visiting goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Levante's goalkeeper had earlier saved a first-half penalty from David Villa but Navas could do nothing about Fabregas' late strike, which ensured Barcelona remain 13 points clear at the top of La Liga.
In other results, Real Madrid defeated Real Betis 3-1 and relegation-threatened Granada claimed a crucial point with a 1-1 draw versus Real Valladolid.