A crucial win on Málaga ground thanks to a Correa goal early in the first-half. Málaga put everything they could into finding a way back in the second-half - after the first was dominated by a Sevilla side who saw Ben Yedder have a goal wrongfully disallowed - but the one goal was enough to see the Nervionenses through to a victory against Andalusian rivals on Andalusia Day
It may not have been the prettiest match of the season but three points are three points and a Sevilla side plagued by injuries, suspensions and fatigue did enough to see themselves through in the Rosaleda. A goal from Joaquín Correa early into the first-half gave the Nervionenses their breakthrough after magical ball from Nolito, and despite a Málaga resurgence in the second-half, Sevilla did enough to see out the game and hang on to a well-earned win.
A slippery and humid Rosaleda stage meant a cagey opening to affairs come kick-off, with neither side creating anything concrete in the early minutes. In fact, both sides would have to wait until nearly quarter of an hour had passed until the first clear opportunity presented itself. Miguel Layún shot fiercely from 25 yards, only to see his effort punched away well by the Málaga keeper. Not two minutes later, Sevilla were on the attack once again and this time would have better luck. A Clement Lenglet clearance would find Nolito with some space in the centre of Málaga's half. From there, the ex-City forward would release a majestic looped ball over the Málaga back-line to find Correa in the opponents' box. Without taking a touch the Argentinian winger would drag the ball across goal with his left foot to find the inside of the right post and give Sevilla a 0-1 lead.
A spectacular Nolito assist paved the way for Correa to break the deadlock
Following Sevilla's opener, the hosts only really threatened from dead-ball situations. A corner that was cleared by Sergio Rico's fists would fall to the feet of the blue and whites, luckily the resulting effort would be fired wide of the Sevilla goal. Despite the warning signs from Málaga corners and free-kicks, it would actually be Sevilla who would have the ball in the net following a corner of their own five minutes from half-time. With the delivery headed down to the feet of Ben Yedder, the French striker would find a poacher's finish to put Sevilla 0-2 up; however, the linesman would rule out the strike owing to a supposed offside. Replays would later show the French striker to be comfortably onside. Frustration to end the first-half.
The hosts would come out with a new attitude come the restart, and knowing they would need a little more spark, looked to show their creativity in a bid to find an equaliser. Thankfully, the Nervionenses' back-line of Layún, Kjaer, Lenglet and a La Liga-debuting Arana would be equal to all efforts. Sevilla still looked dangerous on the counter. Six minutes after the second-half had begun Nolito went close after a Layún cross found him with space in the box. Unfortunately his effort was just too central to trouble the hosts' net. On an hour of play Rolán would be the player to give Málaga their best chance, but Sergio Rico was once again reliable and steady, palming the ball over the bar.
A clear hand ball from Rosales could have given Sevilla a chance for a second but the referee saw it otherwise
From an hour onwards, it was the hosts who created the more chances, though Sevilla were denied a clear opportunity for a second when a huge penalty appeal was turned down. Following a corner from the Nervionenses, the ball was headed down onto the outstretched arm of Rosales but the official saw no infraction and allowed play to continue. Montella looked to the bench in an attempt to give Sevilla stability - bringing on Franco Vázquez and Sandro Ramírez to face his former club. Their inclusion gave Sevilla more life in the dying minutes - especially Vázquez who had a golden chance in stoppage time to kill the game (one he would see saved by the Málaga keeper's foot) - but in the end, Correa's goal would be enough to see Sevilla through.
Three points put Sevilla back in fifth place awaiting the result of Villarreal's game in Ipurúa. Though there will now be a brief opportunity to rest and recuperate, La Liga football remains relentless. Athletic Club are the Nervionenses' next challenge, with the Basque club visiting the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán this Saturday after their draw tonight against Valencia. Escudero will be back and ready to play.