Malaga made it three wins on the spin with six goals shared out in an enthralling derby contest at La Rosaleda on Monday night.
The home side were the first to settle into any sort of rhythm and carved out the first chance of the game courtesy of a delicious cross from the right by Javi Ontiveros, cleared by the Sevilla defence only as far as Federico Ricca who couldn’t get his knee over his volley which sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Sevilla barely got a sniff during the first half an hour but Míchel’s side failed to turn their possession into goal scoring chances, bar Sandro’s speculative effort from outside the box.
Franco Vázquez, however, had other ideas. The forward gave the home side a scare as he took a tumble in the area after Diego Llorente went in for an ill-advised lunge for the ball. Fortunately for the Blue and Whites, Vázquez received a yellow for simulation.
With the bit between his teeth, though, he wouldn’t be denied minutes later as he swept home, with the help of a deflection, Wissam Ben Yedder’s pullback.
The goal granted Sevilla a degree of control they hadn’t enjoyed until that moment. In fact, they ought to have gained a two-goal lead when Ángel Correa was played through on goal and lifted his effort over both Carlos Kameni and the crossbar.
Their new-found dominance was short-lived, though. Straight up the other end, Recio laid off the ball to a striding Pablo Fornals who pushed the ball into a pocket of space on the edge of the area before rifling the ball into the top corner.
Malaga could and probably should have gone into the break with a lead. Once more it was on the counterattack that the hosts found joy and this time Jony got in in the inside left position but his cutback was magnificently intercepted by Gabriel Mercado.
This momentum was taken into the second half and the Blue and Whites raced into a lead through the man in form, Sandro. The Canarian was allowed to burst through on goal after Nicolás Pareja misjudged the flight of the through pass; Sergio Rico then couldn’t get enough of a leg on the ball to stop it nestling in the back of the net.
Malaga’s lead, though, only lasted for six minutes before another defensive lapse, this time from youngster Luis at the back post, gifted Vázquez the simple task of firing past Kameni from seven yards out.
The Cameroonian would prove harder to beat on the 71-minute mark as he pulled off a fantastic double save, first from Vicente Iborra’s close-range header, then Vázquez on the follow-up from a tight angle.
The game would soon take another turn when Sandro’s perfectly-floated freekick from just in front of the centre circle landed on the head of Llorente who delicately glanced the ball past the stranded keeper.
Keen not to let another lead slip, Michel introduced both Miguel Torres and Juankar and reverted to a flat back five in order to stifle Sevilla who added Luciano Vietto to their already attacking lineup.
But it would be defence that triumphed over attack as Sandro won a penalty with minutes remaining until stoppage time after another error in judgement from Pareja who tried to nip in ahead of the striker, only succeeding in upending him.
It was Sandro himself who stepped up, but Rico guessed right and despite getting two hands on the ball, Juankar followed in to convert the rebound, cueing Mexican waves, further adding to the holiday atmosphere around La Rosaleda as Malaga inflicted a blow to Sevilla’s hopes of a top-three finish.
Next up for Malaga, who now sit in twelfth, is the visit of Celta Vigo on Sunday night.