The short trip to Seville on Saturday was a fruitless one for Malaga who have now suffered six defeats from seven league games after their latest loss in the Andalusian capital.
A penalty from Éver Banega and a strike from Luis Muriel within two minutes of each other in the second half were enough to secure a win for an understrength Sevilla side which rested a number of key men.
Malaga, by contrast, were down to the bare bones without Luis Hernández, Diego González and Borja, ruled out through injury, nor the suspended Zdravko Kuzmanovic. And yet, within 25 minutes, the situation worsened as Federico Ricca hobbled off with a muscle strain.
Despite that, Míchel’s game plan seemed to be working in the first half as his side’s disciplined offside trap frustrated Sevilla’s frontline, Luis Muriel in particular. This meant that the midfielders had to get more involved in the attack, and it was Guido Pizarro’s forceful run that led to the first chance of the half, the ball breaking kindly for Jesús Navas to half volley over the bar.
Muriel also worked an opening inside the area but Paul Baysse closed down the angle well and his shot only troubled the side netting.
Malaga remained camped in their own half for much of the opening 45 minutes, but on a rare excursion Álex Mula stung the palms of stand-in keeper David Soria from range, the ball squirming out for a corner.
The game opened up much more in the second half, which spelt trouble for Malaga. Though Recio poked just wide after working an opening for himself on the edge of the box, Sevilla were firmly in the driving seat, Michael Krohn-Dehli and Joaquín Correa both drawing saves out of Roberto.
However, the keeper’s resistance was broken when Éver Banega placed his penalty into the side netting after Roberto Rosales upended Correa in the 67th minute.
Just two minutes later, Sevilla had their second, Muriel beating Roberto at his near post after being sent through on goal.
The quickfire double ended the game as a contest, with both sides ringing the changes and the hosts happy to keep possession in the knowledge that the game was won.
Late half-chances fell the way of the visitors, with headers first from Adrián, then Miguel Torres, both from set pieces, forcing Soria into action, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Ultimately, Malaga were made to pay for their conservatism against a Sevilla team missing Wassim Ben Yedder, Nolito, Steven N’zonzi and Ganso, and who were far from their fluid best.
The Blue and Whites remain five points from safety.