Liga - Bilbao down Malaga to go fourth

Sun, 19 Feb 19:29:00 2012

Three goals in three second-half minutes fired Athletic Bilbao to a 3-0 home win over Malaga that moved them up to fourth in La Liga.

FOOTBALL Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Amorebieta - 0

The Copa del Rey finalists were lucky not to concede in a first-half dominated by Malaga at San Mames, but scored with almost their first clear sight of goal in the 58th minute.

Fernando Amorebieta (pictured) pounced on a loose ball to open the scoring after a corner, and his central defensive partner Mikel San Jose headed the second from another corner in the 60th.

Gaizka Toquero volleyed in the third at the back post a minute later to leave Bilbao on 33 points from 23 games, replacing Espanyol in the Champions League places due to their superior goal difference.

Atletico Madrid were a point behind them in sixth after being held to a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon, who had former Spain boss Javier Clemente in the dugout for his debut at the helm.

Adrian Lopez's cross-cum-shot was turned into his own net by Sporting's Roberto Canella in the 20th minute, but the hosts levelled when Sebastian Eguren poked a loose ball past Thibaut Courtois just before halftime.

Real Madrid opened up a 13-point lead at the top when they beat Racing Santander 4-0 on Saturday to move on to 61 points. Second-placed Barcelona, on 48, are at home to third-placed Valencia later on Sunday.

Earlier, Granada's new coach Abel Resino made it three wins in four since he took the helm when his side came back to beat 10-man Real Sociedad 4-1 at home with a double from Ike Uche.

Villarreal's revival under their new coach Jose Molina shuddered to a halt, however, when they were thrashed 4-0 at Real Mallorca.

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