Wednesday September 22, 2011 (21.00 UK)
La Rosaleda, Malaga
Malaga saw themselves go joint second with Real Betis after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Santi Cazorla was once again the difference for the Anchovies whilst Athletic lacked any real penetration from the midfield, a factor becoming more and more common for the Basques this season.
Eliseu went close early on after getting on the end of a clever Duda through ball, but he put his shot over and Julio Baptista struck the bar soon after with a free-kick on the edge of the visitors’ area.
The hosts took the lead 17 minutes into the second half as Cazorla made Bilbao pay for continuously giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas as the Spain international stepped up and hit a rasping dipping drive into the top corner of Gorka Iraizoz’s net.
Athletic’s best chance ended up falling to Gaizka Toquero as the attacker dived forward in an attempt to get on the end of a left-wing cross, despite Fernando Llorente being in a much better position behind him, but Willy Caballero saved with relative ease.
Eliseu almost secured the win late on after a remarkable run that saw him evade four challenges, with the Portugal international attempting to round Iraizoz and finish, but the angle ended up proving too great.
Malaga (4-2-3-1): Willy; Gamez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Eliseu; Toulalan, Duda (Maresca 79); Joaquin (Seba Fernandez 88), Baptista, Cazorla; Van Nistelrooy (Rondon 64)
Unused subs: Ruben, Monreal, Sergio Sanchez, Isco
Athletic Bilbao (3-4-3): Iraizoz; Ekiza, Gurpegui, Javi Martinez; Iraola, Iturraspe (David Lopez 65), Oscar, Muniain; Susaeta (Igor Martinez 57 (Toquero 71)), Llorente, Gabilondo
Unused subs: Aurtenetxe, San Jose, Raul, Inigo Perez
Did you know… This result ended the run of four consecutive 1-1 draws between the two sides.