David Navarro goal midway through the second half was enough to give Valencia victory over Malaga at the Rosaleda as Los Che maintain their charge for a UEFA Champions League place.
The visitors will certainly be happy to have taken three points from this game as they did not have things all their own way as Los Boquerones played nothing like a team struggling in the relegation places.
In a lively opening David Villa twice went close for the visitors but Gustavo Munua was equal to it on both occasions, first tipping over a header before grabbing a tame effort from the striker moments later.
Victor Obinna was the home sides biggest threat and brought a fine save from Cesar after 12 minutes but Valencia continued to press forward and could have had a lead had Pablo Hernandez spotted both Villa and David Silva in support. Instead the attacking midfielder opted to shoot but fired well wide, much to Villa's disgust.
Malaga had a fine chance themselves on the hour but Cesar was quick off his line to smother Obinna's effort. The Nigerian turned provider minutes later clipping in a fine cross for Albert Luque but his toe poke went wide of Cesar's goal.
The hosts had proven a match for Los Che in the opening 45 minutes and could have lead shortly after the interval but Cesar made a fine double save from Weligton. His performances between the sticks for Valencia are certainly justifying Unai Emery's decision to favour him ahead of Miguel Angel Moya of late.
Valencia probed once more with Silva finding Villa but with Munua approaching El Guaje had to rush his effort and it went over the crossbar. Munua was alert again moments later to deny Silva from 20 yards but the 'keeper was found in no mans land for the goal after 69 minutes.
A deep cross to the far post was misjudged by the stopper and Navarro was on hand to nod home.
Malaga responded with the excellent Obinna almost taking the game to Los Che on his own with three efforts on goal in as many minutes. First he smashed a fine effort at goal from the edge of the box which clipped the crossbar and but after firing wide from an acute angle the Nigerian striker made things easy for Cesar a minute later after fine work from Nabil Baha down the left.
One goal was enough for Valencia and the hosts will rue a lack of composure in front of goal but Los Che were made to battle to hold out for all three points and close to within just five of leaders Barcelona as misfiring Malaga's struggles continue.
Paul Madden, Goal.com