Unfortunate for both Madrid goals, and kept his side on top with a handful of stunning saves. An authoritative presence between the posts.
Though his forays forward left him a little exposed at the back, his threat in the opposition half made up for it, as his deliveries from out wide set up a few great chances for his team-mates.
A crucial clearance off the line from a sure-fire Di Maria goal was the highlight of an accomplished display at left-back. Despite finding little opportunity to get forward, he more than fulfilled his role defending his flank.
Put himself about confidently on a number of occasions, and got the job done with distinction, snuffing out a number of dangerous attacks from Madrid, particularly a clutch tackle on Ronaldo at the very last inside the box. An absolute rock in defence.
Afforded a great deal of space in the second half and took advantage often, stretching the defence with his directness out wide. A dangerous presence in attack.
Every bit as assured as Demichelis at the heart of the home side’s defence, working superbly in tandem with the Argentine to nullify the threat from Madrid with a number of fine defensive plays. However, he was unfortunate to turn home Madrid’s equaliser into his own net after a goalmouth scramble.
Another electrifying display from the Malaga prodigy, who tormented the Madrid defence time and time again with his close control and awareness of his team-mates in advances positions. His efforts were justly rewarded with a goal early in the second half, picking his spot superbly from just inside the area.
Carried out his task simply and effectively, helping out the defence when required and supporting the attack with an efficient array of passing. However, he was guilty of a sloppy give-away in midfield that allowed Madrid to make it 3-2 late on.
Heavily involved in the attack for the home side, and caused the Madrid defence a good bit of headache with his excellent running on the flanks. His shooting was a tad wayward, but it mattered little as he popped up in dangerous positions all across the attacking third, and set up all three of Malaga’s goals.
Acquitted himself well up front for the hosts, keeping the defence honest with a series of well-timed runs, and linking well with Joaquin and Isco in an energetic Malaga front-line.
Found himself in a few good positions, but unfortunately for Malaga, his shooting was not of the required standard. Still played a part in many of his side's attacks.
All eyes were on him after he was picked to start ahead of Casillas, but despite a fine save on Joaquin, the reserve keeper was not the most convincing, and could have done more to prevent both of Santa Cruz's goals.
Fared as badly as the rest of Madrid's defence, as he struggled to contain the likes of Isco and Joaquin in the second half. Appeared nervy and hesitant under pressure.
Beaten often out wide, and offered his team little going forward. Arbeloa simply was not good enough on the night.
Run ragged by the pace and directness of Malaga's front-line, and wasted a few chances to score from set pieces at the other end of the pitch.
Put in a lot of effort, but the quality simply wasn't there. his frustration built as the game went on, and he was booked late on for a cynical challenge.
He simply could not keep up with the hosts in midfield, and failed to inspire much with his passing when on the ball. Too slow and static for this type of game.
Torn left and right by the play of Malaga on the flanks, as Joaquin and Isco were able to breeze past him with embarrassing ease. The Ghanaian did not cover himself in any glory after a poor game.
Á. di María
Should have had a goal and an assist in the first half after seeing a pair of chances go begging, but the Argentine was mostly inconsistent, drifting in and out of the game.
Responsible for most of his team's offensive production in the second half, as he set up Benzema's goal after nearly scoring himself with a marauding run through the defence.
Brought Madrid back into the game late on with a goal, but was otherwise frustrating in his inability to get involved in the game.
Missed a pair of glorious chances to score, but was always dangerous when on the ball. Set up a great chance for Di Maria, and it was his delivery that put the events of Madrid's first goal in motion. Had his team matched his effort, the result may have well been different.
Added fresh legs to midfield after his introduction, helping to steady the ship for the hosts.
R. Santa Cruz
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Santa Cruz delivered right on time for Malaga, scoring twice in the second half with a pair of well taken finishes to stun Madrid and seal all three points for his side. An electrifying cameo.
- 11 S. Fernández