The double match week got off to a great start for Malaga who saw off Valencia by a comfortable two goals to nil at La Rosaleda on Saturday afternoon.
Míchel reverted to a more conventional line-up than that which lost in Galicia last week, employing two out-and-out wingers in the shape of Jony and Javi Ontiveros. In fact, it was from wide that Malaga’s first chance came with Recio’s ball across the goal face needing a last-ditch clearance to prevent the opener.
The hosts couldn’t capitalise on their dominance in the first 15 minutes, though, with both Pablo Fornals and Ontiveros working themselves into good positions before being let down by their finishing.
Minutes later, Valencia had their one and only chance of the first half as Munir whipped the ball across the face of the goal for Santi Mina who only succeeded in connecting with Carlos Kameni.
Munir probably ought to have had a penalty in the 32nd minute but the referee waved away claims that he was tripped by Rosales.
This was quickly forgotten when Sandro cut back onto his right foot on the byline before standing up a perfect cross for Recio to nod his side into the lead.
It became a quickfire double after Sandro’s freekick fell back into the path of the Canarian to smash past a hapless Diego Alves with the help of a deflection.
Jony could have sent his side into the break with a three-goal lead, penetrating the left channel, but his rifled effort took a nick on the way out for a corner.
The hosts were happy with their lead going into the second half and it showed as their intensity soon faded. Valencia, though, didn’t take advantage and looked a beaten side even with 45 minutes still to play. Even the introduction of Nani and Zaza made little difference as Malaga still had the lion’s share of chances.
The best came from quite an unlikely source in the shape of centre half Diego Llorente who found himself on the right wing, rifling an effort into the side netting.
Valencia finally showed up in the last 10 minutes, but could only muster a single chance in stoppage time when Eliaquim Mangala hit the post with all the goal to aim at.
Malaga head to Tony Adams’ Granada on Tuesday night hoping to make it six points from six.