Malaga’s first away league victory since a 1-0 win at Real Betis in March 2016 could not have come at a better time.
With relegation within the realms of possibility, Míchel’s side dug out a victory at El Molinón in which grit, determination and Sandro’s quality proved to separate the sides and take the Blue and Whites eight points clear of the bottom three.
Sporting quelled Malaga’s early possession game to come back into the contest, and would have taken the lead had Carlos Kameni not got down to Lacina Traoré’s left-foot shot on the turn on the half-hour mark.
Carlos Carmona’s curled his effort just wide of the post as the hosts’ threat remained everpresent, however, somewhat against the run of play, Malaga took the lead five minmutes before half time.
Keko beat Roberto Canella down the right and found Sandro, whose deflected effort had enough on it to beat Iván Cuéllar. The visitors should have doubled their lead either side of half time, but Michael Santos and Pablo Fornals both failed to keep their shots down when well-placed.
Malaga relied on their staunch defence to keep the hosts at bay as they piled the pressure on for the rest of the game, with a challenge from Federico Ricca on Traoré, as well as frequent tackles from Ignacio Camacho and Diego Llorente, demonstrating their improvement defensively under Míchel.
Malaga believed that they had seen off Sporting’s best efforts, but Kameni had to be on alert at the death to deny Burgui twice and seal the win.