Malaga racked up their third consecutive Primera Division win with a dominant display of counter-attacking football in a 4-0 win against Rayo Vallecano.
Nodin Amrabat was the star of the show for the hosts, causing havoc down Rayo’s left-hand side and through the middle, and was involved in all four of Malaga’s goals. The first arrived after only six minutes, Samuel Garcia receiving the ball from the Moroccan and hitting a deflected shot in at the near post.
Sergi Darder poked home a second midway through the first half and Juanmi notched a third on the stroke of half-time with a silky finish, while Amrabat grabbed goal number four early in the second half from the penalty spot .
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Javi Gracia’s side went into the game after consecutive wins over Granada and Cordoba and showed their intent in making it three wins from three from kick off. They could have taken the lead with just 30 seconds on the clock when Samu Castillejo raced onto a through ball from Darder to round Tono but Antonio Amaya got back to clear his shot off the line.
But it would not be long before Malaga’s rampant start bore fruit. Amrabat spread the ball to Samuel on the right and the forward went for goal, the ball striking the back of Rayo defender Ze Castro and creeping in at the near post.
Although Rayo had more of the ball they struggled to get out of their own half such was the level of pressure from the hosts, who swarmed over their opponents, suffocating them and then breaking with speed and power. The offside flag saved Rayo on several occasions but Malaga struck again after 21 minutes.
Amrabat beat Tito down the left then spotted the run of Vitorino Antunes, who squared the ball for Darder to slide in and knock the ball past Tono. Rayo coach Paco Jemez’s response to seeing his team overpowered in midfield was to take off left-back Emiliano Insua and bring on winger Javier Aquino, but the change did not have the desired effect and Malaga struck again just before the break, exploiting Rayo’s unguarded left-hand side.
The lively Samuel raced towards the box, easing past Rayo players, and then Amrabat took over duties, threading a pass out right to Juanmi, who strolled into the box and effortlessly lifted the ball over the outrushing Tono.
There was little respite for Rayo, who conceded yet again four minutes after the break. Amaya decided the only way to halt another Malaga counter was to pull back Samuel, and Amrabat cooly slotted home from the spot, scoring the goal his all-action performance deserved.