Isco, Santi Cazorla and Ruud van
Nistelrooy earned Malaga a 3-0 home win over 10-man Racing
Santander that put them up to third in La Liga on Monday.
The big-spending Qatari-owned club knocked Valencia out of
the last automatic Champions League qualification slot, climbing
to 50 points from 31 games with seven left to play.
Faltering Valencia slipped down to fourth with 49 points
after a 0-0 draw at leaders Real Madrid on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho's Real top the standings with 79 points but
have had their lead cut back to four points by Barcelona, 4-1
winners at Real Zaragoza on Saturday.
Racing were reduced to 10 men after only three minutes at
the Rosaleda when defender Francis brought down Salomon Rondon
in the area to be shown a straight red card, but Cazorla's spot-kick was saved.
The hosts created a flurry of chances until Isco curled a
superb shot inside the far post in the 22nd minute.
Spain midfielder Cazorla slotted away the second in the 64th
from Enzo Maresca's slide-rule pass and substitute Van
Nistelrooy headed the third from close range near the end.
Racing's 13th game without a win left them mired in
relegation trouble in 19th place with 25 points, the same as
basement side Sporting Gijon.
They are three behind Zaragoza and seven short of
17th-placed Villarreal and safety.
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